As Raheem Sterling completes his £49m move to Manchester City, we look back at the timeline of his transfer from Liverpool…
Sterling shows his class in Reds’ title tilt
“I’m just really grateful to be at such a big club like this,” Sterling said in December 2012, as he put pen to paper on a five-year deal. The contract – a reward for becoming a first-team regular after joining as a 15-year-old from QPR in 2010 – saw the newly-capped England international step up from a £2,000-per-week youth contract to around £35,000-per-week.
Liverpool’s faith in the teenager paid dividends in 2013/14 as Sterling fired in nine goals, set up five more and collected the club’s young player of the year award as the Reds challenged for the Premier League title.
“He’s maturing very well. We’ve seen we have options with him because of his tactical intelligence,” said boss Brendan Rodgers.
Contract talks stall – but Rodgers stays calm
Sterling’s performances at the World Cup were a rare highlight in England’s dismal tournament and the forward returned to Liverpool duty with a bang at the start of the 2014/15 season, scoring in an opening weekend win over Southampton before netting in a 3-0 triumph at Tottenham two games later.
However, Sterling’s summer exertions eventually took their toll and, after controversially saying he was “too tired” to play for England, he was given a two-game break in January by Rodgers.
Sterling returned from a trip to Jamaica to speculation he was stalling on signing a contract extension offered by the club but Rodgers seemed confident an agreement was not far away. “It’s all in hand with his representatives and the football club. Raheem is very happy here,” he said. “He’s a young player who is playing at one of the greatest clubs in the world. He sees his long-term future here.”
Rodgers was optimistic in February, too, saying: “It’s an incredible deal for a young player,” as reports suggested Sterling had been offered £100,000-per-week. And in March Rodgers remained upbeat: “I’m quite relaxed about Raheem’s situation. He’s not going anywhere in a hurry. He’s got another couple of years to go on his contract. I think anyone who has Raheem’s best interests at heart will see that Liverpool Football Club at this stage is the best option for him in his career.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, while discussing the cost of English players, said: “Can you get Sterling? Maybe if you go to Liverpool with £100m you can.”
Can you get Sterling? Maybe if you go to Liverpool with £100m you can.
Manuel Pellegrini – March 2015
Sterling speaks out
Sterling’s story took a significant twist in April when the attacker gave an unauthorised interview in which he revealed he had turned down a £100,000-per-week contract in January – but insisted he didn’t want to be seen as a “money-grabbing 20-year-old” and his focus was on winning trophies with Liverpool.
A week later, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said: “We know who Raheem Sterling is, and of course we are monitoring him as a player. 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.”
The saga gets ugly
In mid-May, with Sterling set for contract showdown talks with Liverpool, Reds legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher vented his frustration at the situation on Monday Night Football. “For a 20-year-old kid and his agent to be taking on the club, there’s nothing worse than that,” he said.
“Forget his performances and forget how much money he wants, you just keep your mouth shut and get on with playing football. He doesn’t need to move clubs, in my opinion. For his football development, he needs to stay at Liverpool. He plays every week. If there’s one thing he needs to change, it’s his agent.”
For a 20-year-old kid and his agent to be taking on the club, there’s nothing worse than that.
Jamie Carragher – May 2015
Days later Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward reportedly told the Evening Standardhis player would not sign a contract at Liverpool – even for £900,000-a-week. Ward denied the quotes were made by him but, offended by the article, Liverpool cancelled their planned meeting with Sterling.
While on duty for England, Sterling was jeered and booed during a lacklustre display against Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium at the start of June as fans made their voice on the subject heard.
Man City make their move
After months of speculation linking Sterling with a switch to Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid and even Manchester United, Manchester City made their move on June 11, bidding £25m plus a further £5m in add-ons for the 20-year-old. Liverpool rejected the offer, with Sky Sports understanding the Reds valued the player at £50m.
A week later, City returned with an improved offer of around £40m. Again Liverpool rejected the bid. “There will be a few more twists and turns to come,” said Sky Sports News HQ’s James Cooper.
Sterling tells Rodgers: It’s you
Sensationally, Sky sources revealed that Sterling held a meeting with Rodgers on the first day of pre-season training and told the Liverpool boss he didn’t want to play for him. Sterling also reportedly said it would not be in either party’s interest for him to go on the club’s pre-season tour to Asia. The claim was denied by the club but Sterling subsequently missed the next two days of training due to illness.
“He’s starting to get a reputation that could be hard to rid himself of in the future,” Carragher wrote on social media.
Sterling’s former captain Steven Gerrard was equally unimpressed, slamming Sterling for calling in sick and refusing to tour. “I’m not happy with all that carry-on and I don’t think there’s any need for it,” said the Liverpool legend. “They all need to be men about the situation.”
City agree terms with Liverpool
At the third time of asking, Man City and Liverpool struck a £49m deal for the England international, meaning Sterling would become the second most expensive British footballer of all time. “There will be more scrutiny on him because of the size of the fee,” Carragher told Sky Sports News HQ. “When players go for that much money there is that added pressure.”
While Liverpool eased to a friendly victory over Thai All Stars in Bangkok, Sterling completed his medical in Manchester and, on Tuesday July 14, he was named as a Manchester City player.
Source: SKY SPORTS
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