Arsenal had the opportunity to sign Liverpool star Raheem Sterling, according to former Gunners academy director Liam Brady, reports ESPN.
19-year-old Sterling was one of the stars of the Premier League last season, scoring 10 goals in all competitions – including two against Arsenal in the Reds 5-1 victory in February – as Liverpool narrowly missed out on the Premier League table.
Sterling was signed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez for £600,000 back in 2010 from QPR, and has now established himself as a crucial first team player and an England international. And former academy director Brady reveals he could have signed Sterling for Arsenal before Liverpool made their move.
“I had to make decisions at under 12, 14, 16 and 18 whether a player was going to be offered further registration or contracts, and that’s something I won’t miss,” Brady, who left the club in the summer, said. “I’ve let kids go at 14 who are making a very good living in the game.
“In recent times, I think I could have got Raheem Sterling if I’d really gone for him, but I didn’t go through with that one.
“Players we don’t keep often go on and have a good career in the game. It isn’t an end — OK, he’s leaving Arsenal, but clubs are always ringing us, saying: ‘Well, tell us about this fella, and give me a list of the lads who are leaving.’ That isn’t said to soften the blow for the lad, that’s the truth. Within weeks, these lads have moved to another academy. “I saw a kid recently, Lewis Grabban. Norwich have paid around three million pounds to Bournemouth for him — I let that kid go when he was 14. Dwight Gayle, who is playing for Crystal Palace, we let him go too; he cost Palace a couple of million. “Invariably when you leave Arsenal, at the very, very minimum, other clubs will want to take a look at you on trial. You don’t just leave Arsenal and go back to amateur football.”