Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane has revealed that the European Champions are monitoring the situation of Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, who is stalling on signing a new contract.
The past few weeks have been tormenting for Liverpool. Both on and off the pitch. Back to back defeats in the league have seen them trailing behind their rivals by some distance. Top four hopes are almost as good as over.
On top of that there is this continuous media speculation surrounding the future of Liverpool’s best British youngster, Raheem Sterling, which has only intensified the pressure on the club.
Sterling recently gave an unauthorised interview to BBC that had left the club and their fans in absolute shock and disgust. In an attempt to clear his image of a “money-grabbing 20-year-old”, he instead flirted with his future claiming Arsenal’s interest in him is “quite flattering”.
The youngster has been slaughtered by the press for showing little gratitude to the club; there are certain aspects in that controversial interview that should seriously worry realistic Liverpool fans.
It is “about winning trophies” he says. He may be ill-advised, but there’s no denying that at 20, he already questions his long term future seeing his club dramatically fighting for fifth-place after finishing runners-up last term.
He is getting all sorts of advice that Liverpool is an ideal place for his development and that he should continue here, but one can’t blame him if his head now turned away by the prospect of moving to Real Madrid.
“We know who Raheem Sterling is, and of course we are monitoring him as a player,” said Zidane, who is in charge of Madrid’s B team.
“There are very few players in the world who can improve the Real Madrid squad, so it is going to make sense we monitor the progress of the best young players in the world. We monitored [Gareth] Bale for over a year, the same with Isco and also [Raphaël] Varane.
“We monitor many of the best young players in Europe, then if we feel they have something to offer Real Madrid we will contact their club and try and make the next step.”
Liverpool will do everything to keep him away from the lures of Arsenal and Manchester City, but are simply helpless if Madrid comes calling. What Madrid want a player, they usually get him.
The Reds are expected to demand a transfer fee in the region of £50m for Sterling. It may seem too much for Premier League rivals, for Madrid it’s just another routine chequebook signing.
There are multiple reasons why Madrid should not sign Sterling – he is far from the finished article, he doesn’t fit the poster boy image, there are many other options available in his position (last thing they need is another pacy British winger) and so on – and yet they want him because they value him as one of the best young players in the world.
The same fear-factor is probably working in Manchester as well. There is a sense of inevitability that David de Gea, arguably United’s best player this season, will move to Real Madrid at some point in future. The Spanish goal keeper is out of contract in 2016 and has yet to put-to-paper on a new deal at Old Trafford.
De Gea is wanted by Real Madrid, and there’s no way United can hold on to him much longer, even if they finish in top four this season. His final destination is almost fixed.
Sir Alex Ferguson famously claimed in 2008 that he “won’t sell them a virus” while discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential move to Real Madrid, and yet one year later, United had to bid farewell to their legend.
It’s the same old story again. Deja Vu. This time it’s De Gea’s turn to wear the White shirt at the Bernabeu. He is young, Spanish, has grown into a world class stopper and therefore a natural heir-apparent to Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas.
While Casillas still maintains the primary spot for Madrid, there is growing feeling that he is not the same force anymore. Madrid need a reliable keeper who would bring stability at the back, and De Gea fits the bill.
De Gea has improved a lot at Manchester United, but like Sterling he wants to be winning trophies as well. He is already considered as the best in Spain, and looks at set to wind up in the Spanish capital.