Liverpool unveiled their new 2015-16 Home kit in front of 500 supporters at Anfield yesterday, where Raheem Sterling, who was one of the players modelling the strip, was “heckled” at the ceremony.
During a question-and-answer session, Sterling was momentarily interrupted, when one fan shouted at his direction – “Make sure we see you in it next season”.
Sterling confirmed that he had turned down an extension to his contract and revealed that his decision to delay talks was “not about money” despite his agent demanding a weekly salary of £150,000 earlier this season.
ESPN are now reporting that Raheem Sterling will not sign a new contract at Liverpool. The England international has put talks on hold because he wants to see what offers come his way this summer.
The Liverpool camp are hopeful that Sterling will commit his future at the club, but Brendan Rodgers will face a tough battle to convince the youngster to sign a new deal if his side fails to qualify for Champions League next season.
Sterling admitted that he was “flattered” to be linked with Arsenal, while ESPN claims big Premier League clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are eagerly keeping an eye on his situation.
European Champions Real Madrid have registered an interest in Sterling, with Castilla manager Zinedine Zidane claiming Los Blancos are monitoring his situation closely.
Few points on Sterling’s contract situation:
- Sterling is one of several highly talented young forwards in Europe, but he is still far from the finished article. At 20, he is already a first team regular for his club and country and his rapid progress has been recognised with the prestigious European Golden Boy award, which he received last year in December. However, it is his contract situation that has alerted top clubs around the world including Premier League giants like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, though in all probability Liverpool won’t sell him to their nearest rivals.
- The most interesting point in Sterling’s recent unauthorised interview with BBC is the reference to his ambition to win trophies. The England international is not looking for regular places (contrary to what Daniel Sturridge says) in the side – instead he wants to win trophies in his career. He questions his long term future at Liverpool after seeing his club fighting for fifth-place after mounting a title challenge last term.
- What kind of trophies does Sterling want to win – FA Cup? Carling Cup? Europa League? Probably not. The only trophy Liverpool should be aiming for is the Premier League or the Champions League. Winning domestic cups are often seen as a stepping stone towards a title challenge, but in the present climate, finishing in top four holds value over anything else.
Manchester United won the League Cup in 2005-06 after going through a barren spell of almost three years without winning a trophy. It was followed by four Premier League titles in the next five years. But how relevant is it for Liverpool? History doesn’t back up the case either. Gerard Houllier won the cup treble in 2001 but Liverpool had failed to make the cup success transition to league success. It was the same with Rafael Benitez (winning Champions League in 2005 & the FA Cup in 2006) and Kenny Dalglish (won the League Cup in 2011/12) as well.
- Former Liverpool players have slated Sterling for showing no loyalty to the club. Rodgers even echoed on similar lines when he said Sterling “has been given an opportunity” at Liverpool to grow as a footballer he is today that roughly implies -“you owe us your loyalty.” That is absurd and illogical. Sterling is not associated with Liverpool by birth and he doesn’t feel that innate passion what Jon Flanagan feels for this iconic club. Liverpool signed him from QPR because they thought he was a special talent. The club gave him opportunity because he was good enough to represent the first team. Good coaching has helped Sterling develop as a matured player but the club didn’t provide it out of charity. Sterling, along with Suarez and Sturridge, was equally pivotal in taking Liverpool to Champions League again. Rory Smith rightly points out: The club owes the player a lot more than the player owes the club.
The situation is getting complicated with every passing day, and Liverpool would feel the heat once the transfer window opens in few month’s time . Top clubs around the world will start making inquiries and putting in bids for Sterling (should his contract situation remains unsolved) making life difficult for Liverpool. One thing for sure, we will have an interesting transfer saga at hand that will keep us energised during the boring non-footballing period over the summer.