Where next for Raheem Sterling? We look at all his options
With Raheem Sterling seemingly headed for the Anfield exit, we look at the different clubs who may fancy the England winger.
By Liam Kelly
Paddy Power have named Manchester City as the favourites to land contract rebel Raheem Sterling. The Manchester club would be a sensible move for the Liverpool man as he has stated he wants to move to a club who can compete for major honours in all competitions.
City would also be able to fork out a lavish wage estimated at £150,000 a week. This move would also make sense for Manchester City as the FA are ready to introduce a new rule into where a squad has to contain home grown or English international players. City who also have fringe players such as Edin Dzeko, Stefan Jovetic and Yaya Touré could use to tempt Liverpool into a swap deal.
According to Paddy Power the north London club has been named second favourites in the race to land the 20-year-old Liverpool star. Like Manchester City Arsene Wenger’s side can offer Champions League football and they also can compete for the league title, something Sterling believes the Merseyside club can’t do.
Also, Sterling states that he wants to move back to London where he grew up as a kid until he moved to Liverpool from QPR aged 15. Arsenal would be ideal since they are based the city.
However, are Arsenal really in need of him? They already have pacey wingers and also have enough English players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott (above). Although with Liverpool interested in Walcott, could Arsene Wenger use Liverpool’s interest in Walcott to perhaps use him in a swap deal to entice Liverpool to sell their star player?
Paddy Power have surprisingly named newly-crowned champions of England third favourites, at odds of 7/2. This would seem like the ideal option for Sterling as he wants to be in a team who can dominate the league and challenge in Europe. Chelsea are looking like a team who will be in control of the Premier League for years to come if they keep their fan favourite coach José Mourinhio in charge of the west-London based side.
Chelsea should show interest in Sterling because like Manchester City they need to increase the amount of English players in their squad. Also Sterling is only 20 and even though he has shown some flashes of excellence this season he has a huge amount of potential and would add create great pace and awareness to this already star-studded Chelsea team.
The Los Blancos side have been named among the favourites to land the Jamaican born 20-year-old. This news does not come as a shock as when don’t we see the Champions League winners linked to a young and exciting player to add to their team of Galacticos. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has been known for splashing the cash for big players however is Sterling at this stage yet?
He is barely out of his teens and has been disappointing in parts this season so would he fancy a move to a very hostile Bernabeu crowd so different to the Anfield crowd he is used to playing in. We have already seen Gareth Bale (above) go to Real and struggle to impress the crowd in his second season, would the same happen to Sterling? Maybe Liverpool could use Sterling as bait to pinch Bale under the noses of rivals Chelsea and Manchester United.
Like Real Madrid eyebrows would be raised if Barcelona were to sign Sterling. However, it would be an interesting move as Sterling suits Barcelona’s style of play down to a tee. He’s quick and he is confident on the ball. Barcelona also landed another La Liga title and they are in the Copa Del Rey and Champions League final so Sterling would get his wish for competing at the highest level with the best players in the world.
He could also rekindle the partnership with Luis Suarez (above) which was lethal and a huge part of their second place finish in the 2013/2014 season behind Manchester City. Liverpool could use the Catalans interest in Sterling as they could rekindle their interest in Pedro Rodriguez, who still has the same quality he possessed under the time of Pep Guardiola’s reign as Barcelona’s head coach.
Laurent Blanc’s side have also been credited with an interest in youngster Raheem Sterling. This move would convey PSG’s intent to solidify their intentions of becoming the champions of Europe. The Parisians would be able to splash the cash on the youngster and lucrative wages would not be a problem with the club's wealthy owners.
With the likes of Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (above) and Thiago Silva I feel a player with Sterling’s calibire would be welcomed with open arms into the French capital where they are seeking to win another league title. Also, beating Chelsea in the Champions League this season shows how good they are as we have seen how difficult it is to beat Mourinho’s men this season.
Louis Van Gaal is known for helping young players become superstars. It would not impress the Liverpool fans if their prized asset were to move to arch rivals Manchester United. United seem to be improving under the guidance of Van Gaal and having secured Champions League football for next season the future seems bright for Van Gaal's men.
Maybe this move might suit Sterling, who could form a deadly partnership with Van Gaal’s newest recruit Memphis Depay (below). It still seems unlikely that Brendan Rodgers will sell one of his prized assets to arch rivals Manchester United though.
Pep Guardiola’s side have been also linked to the want away Liverpool forward. This move wouldn’t be the smartest by Bayern who simply don’t need Sterling with the likes of Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery and Goetze in their squad. Robben and Ribery are in the form of their lives and are among the best in the world.
However, Bayern matches the criteria Sterling demands for a club in order to get his signature. Sterling would definitely struggle to get game time in this team with the depth they have however I believe Sterling would adapt well in the style of play.
Still, it is still highly unlikely that Bayern would pay near £30 million and £150,000 in wages for a substitute.
And what if he stays at Liverpool?
Liverpool cannot afford to lose another big name as they have already lost Steven Gerrard to LA Galaxy. This would show that Liverpool have taken a big step backwards from last season selling Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling. Even if they get £30 million, who would want to come to a club struggling to make the top four and with few of the star names of the past.
This is similar to the Suarez scenario where he wanted to leave to play Champions League football but stayed the extra season, signed the new contract and contributed to Liverpool qualifying for Europe for the first time since the 2009/2010 campaign under Rafa Benitez. Could Sterling stay and help Liverpool get in the top four?
We have seen this happen to numerous of young English exciting prospects going to big clubs and not performing to their best abilities. For example, Scott Sinclair when he first broke onto the scene he showed amazing talent for Swansea playing a pivotal role in their promotion to the Premier League and their survival in the top division. These impressive performances interested Manchester City and he signed and ever since he has regretted the move, only making 15 appearances for City before being loaned out to Aston Villa.
This could easily happen to Sterling if he moves to a big club such as Real Madrid or Barcelona where he cannot get his game and he could waste the potential he has.
Staying put may be the best option right now, but it looks increasingly unlikely that will come to pass.