AGreekments in Europe this week were easily equalled in Lancashire with the Sterling balance of payments being settled at last. £49m will go one way down the East Lancs Road towards Liverpool and in return a relieved but highly unpopular Raheem Sterling will leave Red Merseyside to join Blue Manchester City. The 20-year-old England winger had asked to leave Anfield and was the subject of two big bids from City in June, which were both rejected. The unbelievable sum is a British record and Sterling becomes the most expensive English player ever by far, after Andy Carroll (who?) signed for Liverpool from Newcastle at £35m (N.B Real Madrid paid £85m for Gareth Bale, but that was poco loco).
To hype things up several former senior Liverpool players including Mark Lawrenson and Jamie Carragher have criticised the Liverpool starlet and his behaviour since he told manager Brendan Rodgers and chief executive Ian Ayre he wanted to leave the club this summer, turning down a new £100,000-a-week deal. Last week the stakes were raised as Sterling opted out of Liverpool’s pre-season tour to Thailand, Australia and Malaysia claiming he wasn’t well. Ex-Liverpool captain and Reds diehard Steven Gerrard observed:
‘You don’t have to throw in illness, or refuse to go on tour. The fans have shown him great support, they want him to stay and I believe that he should too.’ If and when Sterling returns to play at Anfield he will be assured of a very hostile reception from Liverpool’s legion of passionate fans. As for City, they’ve got their man in their seeming money-no-object manner to mount this season’s attack on the Prem and Europe: what an attacking array of artistry available at the Etihad including Aguerro, Silva, Toure, Nasri, Bony, Decko and Navas. But will the Blues get it right this time, after stuttering several times in important matches last season?