Unless you've been living under a rock for the last two weeks, you know all about the latest controversy involving Raheem Sterling and Liverpool. International breaks are boring and the media are the media, so, voila.
But in case you're new to this latest saga, here are the basics: Raheem Sterling is a 20-year-old stud for Liverpool who usually plays as a winger or attacking midfielder. He's fast, he's great with the ball at his feet, and he can finish. For some context, he's Liverpool's highest rated player this season at WhoScored. And let me reiterate: he's just 20 years old.
Now, for the plot twist... he's turned down Liverpool's latest contract offer, believed to be around £100k per week. Firstly, if I made even £1k a week as a 20-year-old, I would've been elated. But I'm also not a professional footballer, I guess. So with Sterling seemingly unsettled, the top clubs have been put on alert. And then Sterling did this, an interview that reportedly left Liverpool infuriated, when he stated that he was motivated by trophies, not money.
So if he's turning down money for the chance at more trophies, City seems like a possible destination, right? It's the same type of claim players like Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie have made in the past, and it worked out alright for them, as they polish their Premier League winner's medals at night before bed. But if Sterling does come to City, what might be the pros and cons?
- Again, he's 20 years old. City would have a young player tied down to his best years. As it stands, we have quite an aging squad and an infusion of youth should be on the agenda this summer.
- He's English. City have had a notable lack of homegrown players over the years, especially English ones. Getting a young, talented player who also happens to be homegrown is about as good as you could hope for.
- We could use a player like him. It isn't just that he's young and English, he also plays a position and style that City could really use some improvement on. Navas and Nasri have had their fair share of detractors this season, and Sterling could be better than both of them. He's quick, direct, and a ball of energy.
- He's going to be damn expensive. Luis Suarez just went to Barcelona after biting a few people for an astronomical fee, and Sterling may command something around that price. For all of the reasons mentioned above, Liverpool won't be selling cheaply, if they sell at all. On top of the fee we have to remember the wages. Surely he would be paid more than £100k per week, despite what he's said this week. In this FFP era we now live in, the books can't go unchecked.
- Can he be trusted to play for the crest? Let's face it, do any of us fans trust Samir Nasri? He's a top player on his day when he's enjoying his teammates, the fans, and the moment, but otherwise can sometimes appear uninterested and not totally on board. Given the route Sterling appears to be going, you have to wonder if his mental arc, if I may coin a new phrase, is not quite similar to Nasri's. £100+k/week to a 20-year-old certainly has an attachment of worries.
Let's just hope Sterling makes the best choice for him and not his bank account or his PR image, whatever choice that may be.