Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool have had quite a rough season from start to finish, from Daniel Sturridge’s injury-filled season to barely finishing with a Europa League spot. It seems things couldn't get any worse for the Merseyside outfit, but they are.
Raheem Sterling, who joined the club in 2010 from Queens Park Rangers when Rafael Benitez was in charge, has become quite the star since making his first team debut in 2012 and more recently during Liverpools title-contending 2013/2014. Things have taken a bit of a turn, as Sterling has reportedly informed Brendan Rodgers he is ready to leave this summer.
The showdown between player and club all started when Liverpool offered a contract to Sterling in January, which he declined, and back to the drawing board Liverpool went. March came around and it was announced that contract talks would be put on hold 'til the end of the season so that Sterling can focus on his football. This set a lot of fans off and had some people throwing in the towel on the 20-year-old winger.
Not even a month later, Sterling had an unauthorized interview with the BBC and informed everyone that he had turned down another contract rumored to be worth around ₤100,000/week, which set even more Liverpool fans off and started to attract the attention of non Liverpool fans.
The latest chapter in this transfer saga unfolds with Sterling allegedly telling Brendan Rodgers he is ready to leave this summer even though he has two years remaining on his current contract. If that wasnt enough to send a red alert to other teams, then when Aidy Ward, Sterling's representative, told Liverpool representatives that Sterling will not sign a new deal with the club even if it was worth ₤900,000/ week, should have done more than enough.
Since everything started back in January, teams have been monitoring the situation at Anfield and as the transfer window draws closer and tensions grow thicker between player and club, teams are crunching numbers and doing the math to find what will lure the young winger to their club.
Sterling has been rumored to miss his home in London, bringing Arsenal and Chelsea into the picture as well as Manchester City and United. All have Champions League football, Manchester United having to go through play-offs, plus all these teams are title contenders in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal, has publically stated his admiration of Sterling and could fork up the money being asked by the winger and his representative. As for Chelsea, City and United, while they all have the prestigious history, lucrative titles, European football and money, Sterling can’t be guaranteed the playing time he would get from, say, Arsenal and Liverpool which isn't ideal for his growth and future.
Sterling is a hot commodity outside of England, having drawn interest from European giants such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint Germain as well as an Italian trio consisting of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Each of these teams have a factor to them that could steer Sterling to signing a contract with them with that being said they also have factors that could have Sterling slip from their grasp.
PSG, Barca, Madrid and Bayern are the go-to clubs for trophies and money, along with the bragging rights of saying you played for one of them. On the other hand, your playing time could get cut in half, especially when you're such a young age playing with the top experienced players.
Juve, while they have the same European presence as Madrid, Barca, etc., aren't however known to spend all of their transfer funds on one player, whether he is worth it or not. As far as playing time, Sterling would have an easier shot at landing a starting spot and continue his growth and development into a world class player.
That leaves the Milan sides, Inter and AC Milan. In recent seasons they've slowly been on a decline and are in a state of rebuilding over the summer transfer window. With that being said either side may be willing to fork up the cash to bring the winger in this summer and if they did bring him in he would be almost guaranteed of a starting position. As for trophies they would come with time and commitment.
Brendan Rodgers remains relaxed and optimistic during this time of uncertainty at the club having just lost Luis Suarez at the beginning of the season and now the key player to their future is unhappy and teams are becoming aware. Rodgers is dealing with the situation as any manager would and trying his best to give Sterling what he wants but he can only do so much having warned Sterling he and the club will not be held ransom over a new contract for the young winger.
“As a manager, you want to give everything to the player to help them. Ultimately, if a player or their representative - probably more so their representative - decides that the player needs to move, that is normally what happens.”
“Ultimately, for players and representatives, a lot of the time it’s about two things - game time and money.”
In the end, Sterling just wants to be a team's focal point and have a team built around his playing style. He also wants to play in Champions League consistently not one season in one season out. As well as be paid what he believes he is worth week in and week out. Whether he see's it or not Liverpool is the best place for his development into a world class player as for when he gets older and more experience it would be a smart move for him to move on to a bigger stronger team such as Madrid or Bayern.