This summer’s transfer saga seems to have been going on forever. Raheem Sterling’s Liverpool exit appears to be pretty nailed on at the moment, with Man City reportedly returning with a second offer of £40million to bring him to the Etihad.
Is he worth that sort of money? Most would say no and believe Brendan Rodgers should be biting City’s hand off for that kind of fee, while others would much rather try and squeeze as much out of City as possible. Fair.
Is Sterling good enough to go to City and live up to that kind of fee and all the pressure that goes with it, or will he flop like all the other young, English talents that have been swallowed up by City’s gung-ho transfer approach in the past? And, more importantly, how will Liverpool cope without him?
We booted up our copy of Football Manager 2015 to see what would happen if Man City did buy Raheem Sterling in the summer and how both they and Liverpool would get on in the aftermath of one of the most ridiculous transfer sagas in Premier League history.
And the results will please both sets of supporters…
The transfer saga comes to an inevitable end in mid-July as Sterling completes a £48million switch to Man City, putting pen-to-paper on a six-year deal worth £120,000-a-week, plus add-ons.
Manuel Pellegrini refuses to sign any more players in the transfer window and takes advantage of the return of some his players who were on loan the previous season.
Brendan Rodgers, despite desperately wanting to go on yet another mega-spending spree, refrains from spending all the money from the Sterling sale and instead spends a combined £17.5m on Aleksander Dragovic of Dynamo Kiev, Senad Lulic from Lazio and Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s Eran Zahavi.
Life after Sterling immediately looked absolutely fine as Rodgers’ side went on to win all seven of their opening Premier League fixtures before losing to Tottenham in mid-October. By the time the busy festive schedule was underway, Liverpool had lost just twice in the league – to Spurs and Sterling’s Man City.
It was that loss to Manchester City that will have hurt, though, as the main man himself popped up with the only goal in a 1-0 win for Pellegrini’s side at Anfield. He celebrated in front of the Kop, too. Ouch.
In contrast, Man City lost two of their opening seven league games – to Watford and Man United – and were already well off the pace in the early title race.
Sterling registered his first goal for City in a 2-1 Champions League group stage defeat to CSKA Moscow and netted his first Premier League goal in a 5-2 thrashing for West Ham at Upton Park.
But other than his goal at Anfield, Sterling struggled to make a huge impact during his first season as a Man City player.
He was notably outshone by the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic, all of which scored a combined 85 goals between them.
Sterling ended the campaign with five goals and 12 assists from 44 appearances in all competitions, which isn’t too bad for a debut season in highly competitive squad filled with world class talent.
By the end of the season, both Liverpool and City were pretty chuffed with their achievements. Sterling followed up winning the Community Shield at the beginning of the season by lifting the Premier League title as City pip rivals United to the post by four points.
Liverpool also ended the season with silverware as they lifted the FA Cup for the first time since 2006, having beaten Man City in the semi-finals, and finished the season in third to secure Champions League football once again after a year’s exile.
So Sterling will have ended the the campaign with silverware even if he had stayed with Liverpool, though he did end up with the better of the two deals.
But Liverpool coped very well without him and didn’t appear to miss the youngster at any point throughout the season. £48million, though? Not quite worth that, but still a good addition to Pellegrini’s side all the same.