Now the Sterling saga appears to be drawing to an end, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has a hefty transfer fee to spend once more. The infamous summer spending spree of 2014 following the sale of Luis Suarez has been much talked about, with many of the incoming players not justifying their worth. The likes of Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren have looked utterly terrible buys, whereas Adam Lallana and Alberto Moreno have struggled to live up to hefty price tags. Now, Rodgers has almost £50m to spend, and he is under an intense amount of pressure.
Though Sterling himself has a lot to live up to following such an outlay by his soon to be employers, Rodgers is perhaps under more pressure than his former winger. A disappointing season last year has led to many questions about his time on Mersey side, especially his record in the transfer market. The Anfield club have been active in the market so far this summer, with six players arriving at the club. However, only Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Roberto Firmino look set to go straight into the first team.
Major surgery is needed to appease the baying Kopites, and though the signings have been sensible – Rodgers now has the funds to make them stellar. The £29m capture of Brazil international Firmino is exciting no doubt, but after Steven Gerrard and now Sterling have left, big names are hard to come by in the Liverpool squad. Rodgers must rectify his mistakes from last year, this is his final chance.
Many of the Northern Irishman’s signings have flopped. Liverpool fans are growing weary at his transfer blunders, so the pressure is on to spend wisely. The Suarez money was wasted; do not let the Sterling fund suffer a similar fate. Should he bring in quality players, perhaps all will be forgotten.
Manchester City bound winger Sterling will be under scrutiny to prove he is worth the money. However, he has age on his side. At just 20 years old, he has time to develop into a world class player, though clearly the sooner the better. City are not paying the whole £49m for what he is, more for what he could be. Whether you baulk at the figure or not, the want away winger has plenty of time to grow.
Rodgers, however, does not. Since his appointment in 2012, only Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Countinho stand out as decent buys. There are too many disappointments to list. The infamous ‘transfer committee’ in play at Anfield has been talked about, but Rodgers must be the man to take responsibility – it is the nature of the job.
On the face of it, Liverpool seem to the ultimate winners in the Sterling saga. To sell a man who has scored less than 20 career goals for £49m appears to be a master stroke. For the owners and those connected to the deal perhaps it is indeed the deal of the century. For Rodgers, it is the sale that sparks the spree that defines his reign.