Manchester United have reportedly contacted fierce rivals Liverpool to ask about the availability of Raheem Sterling.
Sterling’s future at Anfield is very uncertain right now. After being heckled by Liverpool fans as he collected the club’s Young Player of the Year Award on Tuesday night, the 20-year-old received more abuse as he drove away from training on Wednesday.
Reds supporters were heard shouting “you’ve let everybody down” and calling the youngster “greedy”, as rumours of a possible summer transfer continued to spread.
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Things got even worse for Liverpool fans late on Wednesday evening when a group of national newspapers, including the Daily Mail and The Times, reported that United had made a move for Sterling.
Thursday’s Times back page: United make first move in Sterling chase #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/hwlIMXtUcu
— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) May 20, 2015
No player has moved directly between Anfield and Old Trafford since Phil Chisnall in 1964. If Sterling – one of the most talented footballers of his generation – were to swap Merseyside for the red half of Manchester, it could well be the ugliest transfer ever. It would at least give Sol Campbell’s Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal switch a run for its money.
But why shouldn’t Sterling consider a move to United? After all, it would be a huge step up. United are back in the Champions League and could conceivably compete for multiple major titles next season, while Liverpool don’t look like winning any significant silverware any time soon.
And why should Sterling be loyal to Liverpool? He’s not a local boy and, quite frankly, he has been treated appallingly by Reds fans.
Two days ago, BBC Sport reported that Sterling had rejected a £100,000-a-week contract and was poised to ask Brendan Rodgers for a summer move. But Sterling has not said this publicly. In fairness, he has maintained a quiet level of dignity throughout the ugly affair.
The player is not holding Liverpool to ransom. He has only – reportedly – asked to leave. Right now, he has two years left on his current deal, meaning Liverpool should be able to get a good price for him.
Yes, £100,000 is a lot of money for a 20-year-old to be taking home each week, but Sterling is worth more than that in football’s current sweltering financial climate.
He does not deserve the stick he is getting.
Sterling was raised in London and many people therefore believe that he is keen to return to the capital, making Chelsea and Arsenal frontrunners for his signature.
Were it not for this outpouring of hate from Liverpool fans, a move to Old Trafford would probably never have even crossed his mind. But perhaps all the spiteful comments will remind him that he owes nothing to his current employers and that he would be perfectly within his rights to flirt with United.
This is all fairly academic at this stage. The Daily Mail say Liverpool have flatly refused to consider doing business with United.
However, if Sterling’s ears were to prick, who knows what could happen? Money talks and United have lots to splash.
Sterling’s form has dropped off in the second half of the season, but, with Rodgers shifting his star prodigy out of his preferred position to deploy him in a range of roles, from wing back to lone striker, it is little wonder.
The 20 year-old’s attitude and application on the pitch have never been in question – even if his performance level has dropped.
He needs support both from the terraces and when he meets the fans. What worker would perform at their best if they were told they were letting everyone down?
Without encouragement from his own team’s fans, why wouldn’t Sterling seek a transfer elsewhere – even to United?