Raheem Sterling must not make the same mistake Wilfired Zaha made when he joined Manchester United from Crystal Palace, and stay at Liverpool for “four or five years”, according to ex-Red John Barnes.
The 20-year-old is currently hailed as one of Europe’s very best young players, but his future at Anfield is the subject of some doubt.
Although he’s been offered a significant pay rise – a £70,000-per-week contract – Sterling is believed to have rejected the advances of his current side, with a host of clubs interested in his signature.
Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Chelsea are just a few of the big names after the England international, whose value may tumble in the not too distant future with his deal due to expire in 2016.
But Barnes believes that it’s too soon for Sterling to be thinking about a move, and that the example of Zaha – who has struggled at United since stepping up from Palace – should serve as a warning to the youngster:
“It would be a blow if Sterling leaves, but how well is he really playing to warrant more than £75,000 a week?” he told talkSPORT.
“He’s had one very good season and he’s not the finished article. He still has to improve, and leaving Liverpool now would be a mistake.
“We’ve seen it before with [Wilfried] Zaha leaving Crystal Palace and going to Manchester United. When a young player, after one good season, gets an opportunity to go, is that the right thing for his career?
“I think he should stay for four or five years and prove his consistency to show he can handle any situation in any country. It would be a bad move for him to leave [now].”