Manchester City have bolstered their attack and chance to reclaim Chelsea’s crown with Liverpool enfant terrible Raheem Sterling getting the move he’d been craving for some time. The £49 million transfer fee paid by City makes him the world’s most expensive player under the age of 21, the Daily Mail reported yesterday. Opinion is well and truly divided on whether he’s worth that much.
Liverpool, having lost long-time leader Steven Gerrard to LA Galaxy, will now have to do without another of their most influential players in the season ahead.
Labelled a spoiled brat and greedy by some, Sterling snubbed a Liverpool contract extension worth £100,000 a week back in March. City will reportedly pay him up to twice that much.
“It’s never been about money. I talk about winning trophies throughout my career. That’s all I talk about,” he told the BBC in April.
Liverpool have gone 25 years without winning the Premier League. Sterling saw his opportunity to move and seized it. He’s going to a club that’s won the title twice in the past four years.
Whether he’ll play a starring role for them this season is hard to predict, especially as he underwent bouts of chronic inconsistency last term. Someone on my Facebook feed wrote: “Have fun on bench for 4 years at Man city sterling!!” This isn’t exactly my view. I think he’ll be instrumental and may unseat (or, rather, force to take a seat on the bench) someone like a Navas or Nasri. He’s proven himself at Liverpool, particularly in the 13/14 season when Liverpool lost the title to City by just two points.
He’ll have to settle down and find his niche with City, having been forced to play in almost every position last season from lone striker (a role really not suited to him) to right wing back (puh-lease). For me, his best position is as a wide midfielder where he can come inside, cause havoc and get in behind defences. He may also prove a beneficial foil just behind Aguero, forcing Silva out wide or behind him.
Wherever he plays, City have got themselves a gem, albeit at a pretty price.