Hot off the press this morning, according to the Daily Mail, Raheem Sterling is in no rush to sign a new contract at Liverpool, despite the Premier League side being more than prepared to offer him an improved package on his current deal.
The Reds attacker currently takes home £1.5m per-annum and has two years remaining on his Anfield contract, but coinciding with reports that Real Madrid are targeting his services, has raised concerns over his long-term future by insisting he won’t be hasted into contract talks.
We at Football Fancast however believe the 19 year-old is making a grave error; Liverpool have transformed him from an anonymous teenager into the Premier League star he is today. And to prove our point, here’s FIVE reasons the England international should sign on the dotted line.
It can only be assumed that one of the underlying reasons Raheem Sterling has stalled on contract negotiations is because he’s allegedly emerged on Real Madrid’s radar:
Liverpool could be forced to fend off Real Madrid interest in Raheem Sterling … http://t.co/yPfchriVtE
— Real Madrid (@iRealMadridNews) September 25, 2014
They may be the reigning European Champions, but when it comes to young players and transfers, the Bernabeu outfit are complete idiots.
Take the recent plight of Isco for example – a former Golden Boy award winner, brought to the Spanish capital in summer 2013 after impressing at Malaga.
Since the attacking midfielder signed on the dotted line, Los Blancos have forked out no less than £152million on players in his position, specifically James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale. The rise of the latter saw the 22 year-old miss out on a place in Spain’s World Cup squad, and he’s made just two out of a possible six starts in La Liga this season.
Likewise, despite emerging as perhaps the most potent creator in Europe last season, as shown below, and bagging the Man of the Match award in the 2014 Champions League final, Real Madrid flogged Angel Di Maria to Manchester United this summer.
In part due to the Galacticos policy, in part due to a presidential system underpinned by the audacious demands of the fanbase, the Spanish giants churn through vogue players at a remarkable rate, like junkies addicted to footballing fads.
Moving to the Bernabeu could be the making of Sterling, but it could also waste several years of his career.
With Luis Suarez moving to Barcelona and Steven Gerrard’s influence naturally waning with age, Liverpool are in need of a new talisman – a player the starting Xi can be structured around.
Of course, a key role of that calibre must be gained rather than gifted, but having produced sensational form since the start of 2014, Raheem Sterling is already upon the periphery of such status.
He’s already proving to be Liverpool’s most potent entity in the Premier League this season, as shown below:
And as the Reds endure some troubling form at the start of the campaign, the stage is set for Sterling to emerge as his club’s new hero – one can already envisage him wearing that famous No.7 shirt one day.
The England international certainly possesses the potential to become Liverpool’s latest long-term talisman – no teenager in Europe played a more crucial role, in a challenge as tough as a Premier League title race, at a club as monolithic as Liverpool, than Sterling last season.
Here’s a look at some of the attacker’s highlights from 2013/14:
Anfield has always been a hotbed of young home-grown talents, but even more so during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure.
The Ulsterman has proved himself a fantastic developer of young talents – the Liverpool squad that finished in second-place last season was underpinned by the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Mamadou Sakho, Philippe Coutinho and John Flanagan, all of whom are 25 years of age or younger.
Likewise, he’s issued competitive debuts to Flanagan, Jack Robinson, Jordan Rossiter, Jordan Ibe, Connor Coady and Andre Wisdom to name a few.
Rodgers appears to have greater faith in young players than the majority of Premier League managers, embracing their energy and enthusiasm rather than fearing their inexperience.
The Anfield gaffer is unquestionably the right man to continue moulding Sterling, assuring him regular game time and giving the England youngster the freedom to express himself on the pitch.
He trusted Sterling enough to utilise him in the No.10 role last season – a position of enormous responsibility going forward – and clearly plans to continue in that vein for the foreseeable future.
Luis Suarez may have departed for Barcelona, but there’s still an SAS partnership in Liverpool’s midst; Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.
The England duo aren’t an out-and-out front two but they share an intrinsic, almost telepathic bond as an attacking tandem, linking up well and working off each others’ movement.
Both can act as scorer or provider, albeit from different areas of the pitch, and Sterling would be wise to preserve that partnership by signing a new contract.
Sturridge remains one of the most potent goalscorers in the Premier League; he can make even the most wayward of passes look like a world-class assist.
Here’s a look at Sturridge and Sterling in action:
Also, from a personal point of view, ‘SAS’ is fantastic headline fodder, so for the Liverpool pair to stick together would make my job considerably easier.
As Jamie Carragher quickly pointed out on Twitter, it’s Raheem Sterling’s agent, not the player or Liverpool, causing all the trouble:
Message to Raheem Sterling agent, shut up feeding stories about his contract.
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) October 3, 2014
Obviously, the attacker believes he’s worth more than his current £30k per-week salary, and in the context of the Premier League, he certainly is.
But is it really worth holding the club to ransom and subliminally threatening to leave for Real Madrid just for the sake of a few extra pennies?
Liverpool is clearly the right club for the 19 year-old to continue his development, and at this point in his career, nothing else should matter.
Brendan Rodgers and the Reds have propelled the England international upon the verges of super-stardom; he owes them a show of loyalty, and it’s quite clear Sterling’s agent doesn’t have his client’s best interests at heart.