Talks over Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling’s proposed new contract have been stalled until the end of the season, amid rumours of several clubs expressing interest in the England international.
Sterling’s representative has made it clear that Sterling will resume talks in the summer, with his current deal expiring in 2017, and manager Brendan Rodgers said “I am sure (the situation) will be resolved and the concentration for Raheem is now on his football”.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers insists that the 20 year-old’s best option is to stay with the Anfield club, as he believes Sterling will benefit most from being first-choice in the Liverpool set-up.
Real Madrid and Chelsea have been the clubs heaviest linked with Sterling, but assuming he does leave Liverpool, the question remains as to whether he would make an impact at either club.
Chelsea would appear to be an ‘easier’ team for Sterling to break into, with his versatility opening him up to a variety of roles, but his biggest success has arguably come in the ‘number 10’ role behind the striker, a position currently occupied by Oscar at the Blues.
It is plausible that Sterling could displace Oscar in the Chelsea team, or possibly work alongside him, but Chelsea did bring in winger Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina as competition for Willian on the wing. If Oscar remains the preferred choice, it would be difficult to see Sterling surpassing Willian, Eden Hazard and Cuadrado to start at Stamford Bridge.
It is a similar story for Real Madrid, with the Spanish giants opting for a 4-3-3 system that would mean Sterling having to force his way past one of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema in the pecking order to be played in his preferred attacking role, which at this time does not seem likely, barring a spectacular summer transfer for any of those players.
Rodgers also said in February that Sterling had received an ‘incredible’ offer, but warned that he would not be paid “too much too young”. It is arguable that Sterling’s worth to Liverpool is greater than the rumoured £90,000 per week offer he has been given, especially as other clubs could offer him more.
While staying at Liverpool may not be the most financially profitable option for Sterling, it may well be the best choice to further his career as he moves into his peak years.