Raheem Sterling is all but confirmed as a Manchester City player after Liverpool accepted a whopping £49 million pound bid from City. While Iker Casillas was transferred from Real Madrid to Porto on a free transfer. This just highlights the ludicrous state of the transfer market these days.
Raheem Sterling is a good player, excellent at times. When he first broke into the Liverpool starting eleven back in March of 2012, making his début at Anfield versus Wigan Athletic, he brought a breath of fresh air to the squad, an energy that Liverpool had been lacking somewhat over the previous couple of seasons. Everybody expected him to push on and become a Liverpool and England great.
However, after a good first 18 months in the spotlight, things have seemed to just go downhill as quickly as they rose. During the 2013/14 season Sterling made a total of 33 appearances in the Barclays Premier League (BPL), scoring nine goals along the way. Alongside Suarez and Sturridge he completed what was probably the best attacking threesome in the BPL that season. They may not have won the league and did let a glorious chance slip…but Sterling was one of the stand put performers of the whole season.
Expectations were high for not just Sterling but also Liverpool as a club the following season. Boy oh boy did they underperform, however, it was the form of Sterling that was quite interesting. He went from winning games almost single handed to being completely anonymous for the 90 minutes. Especially in the Champions League and other big games he just didn’t turn up at the level that everybody expected and knew that he could play at. He made 35 appearances last season in the BPL scoring 7 goals along the way.
He is now being sold for 49 million pounds to City after one very good season and a very below par one. He joins the illustrious list of players like Andy Carroll, his predecessor as the most expensive English player in history.
Sterling moves from a club where he was guaranteed first team football every weekend, where he was well liked by fans and teammates and working with a manger who has a lot of experience getting the best out of young players and who had supported him during his off the field issues were dealt with. At City he will have to perform at top level every game or else he won’t get the game time that he expects.
However, as we’ve seen so far during his career he struggles for consistency. Had he stayed at Liverpool he would have had more leeway to have an off day, whereas City due to the plethora of talent and funds that they have available Sterling won’t have that leeway at all. If he doesn’t perform than he could very easily end up on the chopping block a lot sooner than expected and the way he has played and acted recently will he mentally be ready for the challenge that lays ahead of him.
Had he stayed at Liverpool for all the aforementioned reasons, he would have almost been guaranteed a spot in the England squad for the Euro Championships next summer in France considering England are pretty much guaranteed a spot there due to their record in their group thus far.
At Liverpool, Sterling was one of the big players, a stalwart. At City he’ll have to get used to being among a group of players who are just as capable if not more so. Alongside the rise in skill level across the board, he’ll be competing with some very big egos like Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri. Considering how big his ego has appeared at times over the last few months during his attempts to force a big money move to City by “taking on the club” with his agent over a contract at the age of twenty which according to Jamie Carragher, who made over 500 appearances for the scousers during a 17 year, there’s “nothing worse”.
Sterling will become a disliked figure in the Kop, not because he moved to another club but the way he went about it. Of course no fan wants to see one of the better players leave, but it happens all the time, they’d get over it eventually.
However, by being portrayed on more than one occasion sending mixed messages and seemingly unwilling to sit down and negotiate fairly would irk any fan. Fans want to see their team on the back pages for good reasons not the front pages for bad reasons.
His agent hasn’t helped Sterling either by calling a legend of the Club (Carragher) a ‘knob’ or stating ‘’any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players – none of them things matter to me. It is not relevant’’ and last but not least ‘’I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800 or £900 thousand a week. He is not signing.”
Sterling may not have said any of the above but he is severely tainted by association. He will have a very interesting season ahead overcoming the aforementioned challenges and the new level of expectation that comes with such a big price tag. He doesn’t have years of experience and past trophies and successes to defend himself with, like Iker Casillas, if things go pear shaped during the coming season which is quite possible.