The Sterling issue is all about club strategies. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man C etc have them. But Liverpool…

By Tony Attwood

Over the years of building and paying for the Emirates we’ve had a few experiences of players trotting off to other clubs rather than continue at Arsenal.  Not all of them have enjoyed the experience but they have kept on doing it.

Van Persie, Nasri, Cole, Adebayor, Toure, Hleb, Flamini, Clichy, Fabregas, Vermalen, Sagna, Song, Henry, van Bronkhurst, Overmars…

The list goes on and on.  Not all left despite our desire to keep them, but some did, and indeed Barcelona alone have spent over £125m on Arsenal players during the reign of Lord Wenger.

Much of the time the moves – even the ones like RVP where the player forced the move against the management’s wishes and despite the contract, were greeted by the media with a shrug and a comment about Arsenal not being able to hold onto players.

But when a player dares to say he wants to leave Liverpool, then all hell breaks lose.  Today, driving home from work I heard a veritable stream of ex Liv players saying what a disgrace it was that now a Liverpool player wants to go.

Now as a strategy I don’t think that is one that will work very well.  Man C and Chelsea have strategies – unimaginable amounts of money and ways of twisting and turning as long as FFP lives.  Man U have a strategy – worldwide marketing based on fifty years of growing the brand across the world.

Arsenal have a strategy of building a sensational stadium that brings in vast sums for each match, combined with a youth policy that provides a production line (next up Gnabry), and an eternal run in the Champions League with all the dosh that brings.

But Liverpool… what is their strategy.  Over Sterling Liverpool look to me like a club of denial, simply saying he can’t go when they know, as we know that under CAS rules, he can go.  Pretending black is white is what Liverpool did when Arsenal played silly buggers with them over Suarez, and it fooled the press once, but I am not sure that they can do it again, by just pretending that the “Webster case” (which lays down when players can be transferred) didn’t happen.

And just pretending that Liverpool is an institution, and relying on the admittedly wonderful trophy cabinet of the past won’t work very well either.

Sterling has turned down £100,000 a week in order to win trophies, and Steven Gerrard said, “I think there is no one better for him than Brendan Rodgers,” which is interesting to say the least.  I wonder what basis he said that on and whether many people outside Liverpool agree.

Of course Liverpool can always find support for what seems (to me) to be a non-policy of building for the future, for just as the Daily Telegraph refused to publish John Henry’s admission of his guilt over the incident of lying about the release clause in Suarez’ contract, so it has refused to recognise that the CAS has ruled that players can move after three years irrespective of what the contract says.

But this is dangerous.  The Telegraph lives in this fairyland of unreality, and pontificates about a parellel universe where the events that we see around us didn’t actually happen.  Accepting the notion that Smalling can’t leave (when the CAS regs say he clearly can) is downright dangerous.

But the Telegraph continues to talk up the fallacy and lastest to join in with commentaries from the other side of reality is Chris Bascombe.   Now he ought to know that Sterling signed a five year contract in 2012.  So the third year (at which time a player can walk from a contract under CAS rules) is up… oh, when it is it, oh, yes, hmmmm, now.

But Bascombe doesn’t know this because the Telegraph denies that the rule exists.  As I said it is called the Webster Ruling and it is embodied in Fifa’s rules.  It stipulates that that players are able to unilaterally walk away from a contract after a fixed period, regardless of the duration of the contract itself.  But the Telegraph says, “No!” and so pretend it never happened and sadly for them, Liverpool’s management and owners seem to have been sucked in.

But there is a further problem.  For the fact is that just as Arsenal were short of money during the build and pay period, and so couldn’t hold on to players, now Liverpool have the same problem with lots of players wandering away.  Their problem is greater though, for although it is quite true that they won the Champions League in 2004/5, something Arsenal have singularly failed to achieve ever, they haven’t qualified for it for the coming year, nor five of the last six years. And they haven’t won the top division in England for 25 years.  Nor the FA Cup for nine years.

Liverpool’s problem, rather like Tottenham’s is that during the rebuilding programme they will have shortages of money similar to Arsenal’s – remembering that the repayment of debts goes on for maybe eight or ten years after the rebuilding is done.

And this comes just as Michel Platini tells us that Uefa is more or less throwing in the towel on FFP.

A year ago the Guardian ran a story about the infamous JW Henry in which he is quoted as saying, “We wouldn’t have moved forward on Liverpool except for the passage of FFP.”

But what Henry didn’t really grasp is that Uefa is run by a bunch of nincompoops who really would be better employed in a Disney cartoon than football management.  What Liverpool needed was a constant stream of youngtsters to bolster their team.  An approach that Arsenal have revealed with players as diverse as Fabregas, Ramsey, Coquelin, Bellerin, Gibbs, etc etc etc.

When RVP or Fabregas or Nasri wanted to leave we were all annoyed and frustrated, but the production line of Wenger during his reign has been so good that we knew we would always have more and more coming through, no matter how short the club was of the readies.

But Liverpool isn’t like that.  Sterling has asked to go aged 20 saying, “I talk about winning trophies throughout my career. That’s all I talk about. I don’t talk about how many cars I’m going to drive, how many houses I’ve got. I just purely want to be the best I can be.”

And to be fair he has a point in that he has turned down £1m by refusing to re-sign at a higher level last year.  But in focussing on this, as the Telegraph has done several times, they miss another point, and I am wondering if Liverpool has missed it too.

Yes Sterling is losing money by not signing, but Liverpool is doing immesurable damage to its own image.  It is now to be seen as

a) a club that although having won many, many trophies in the past, including the Champions League / European Cup five times, it hasn’t been winning so many in the past ten years,

b) a club that isn’t actually competing in the Champions League next year and doesn’t look close to winning the league,

c) a club that is rebuilding its stadium step by step, and is having to find money for that,

d) a club which the owner admits was reborn on the basis of FFP which has now been set aside,

e) a club run by a man who lies during negotiations, and then reveals to the world that he lied,

These things, I would submit, when put together, don’t make the best PR case for bringing in new players.  The lack of recent success, the lack of a fully built new stadium, the business model dependent on a Uefa policy that is now vanishing, the lack of Champions League in quite a few years of late…

And there is another problem.  Liverpool’s transfer record is considered by some as not very good in he last few years.  Suarez was good yes, but they had to sell him.  Sterling was good yes, but he wants to leave.  While Man C and Chelsea can buy anyone they like with FFP restrictions going, and Arsenal seem to be able to pluck one or two young talents out of a hat each year while buying Ozil and Alexis, Liverpool buy…

Mario Balotelli on £80,000-a-week doesn’t help either.  The manager saying last summer he was going to sign two superstars before he bought Mario didn’t help either.

My point is, doing what Wenger has done through his reign is phenomenal, and those who do the “fourth is not a trophy” bit should look at Liverpool and understand just how much Liverpool would love the non-trophy of fourth, and the production line of young players.  They should think back to the way they sneered at Coquelin and Bellerin this year, and realise just how much Liverpool would have loved to welcome in such players.

We have the youth, the stadium, the profits, the business model that works, and above all the credibility.  I rather suspect Liverpool would like some of that.

From the anniversary files…

19 May 1980: Liam Brady’s last match for Arsenal, a 0-5 defeat in Game 70 of the season.  The sadness of Brady’s time as an Arsenal player is that he was there during Mee’s declining years, and the only moderately successful Terry Neill.

37 Replies to “The Sterling issue is all about club strategies. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man C etc have them. But Liverpool…”

  1. This is probably a good time to point out that Sterling hasn’t actually seen out three years of his contract yet. He’ll reach three years since signing in December of 2015, and will need to notify Liverpool within 15 days of the last competitive match of the 2015/16 season of his intent to buy out the final year of his deal. He can’t use the Webster ruling to be freed of his contract this summer.

  2. Complete dross. Got to the point where the strategy by arsenal was to build an exceptional stadium and had to stop. To suggest borrowing £400 million of someone else’s money to bring future income is the right way while spending £400 million of someones own money on a team to bring future income is the wrong way is laughable.

    It’s the future of football fans and arsenal are the forefront of it. Nowadays how you earn your money seems to be the way to claim you’re the ‘best’ team.

    For all the arsenal players wanting to leave the media and ex players went crazy and we had to listen to the drivel. Now it’s someone different and arsenal fans are forefront of claiming they are ‘best’ because when they whinged about this scenario they somehow did it better.

    To be fair to Liverpool fans most of them would easily swap sterling for £35mil +.

    I think the main concern is that Liverpool have created a potential future England star and his desire to sit on the bench of city, United, Chelsea or arsenal is more important than playing football. Who’s to say he’ll even progress into those teams first teams and end up like Walcott who has become a bench player in a position he doesn’t like and not picked for England anymore. He had SO much potential and it was wasted on the bench of a top 4 team.

  3. Must admit, I thought Ballotelli was on more than that. As for Liverpool, they seem to have the media in their pockets, they give out a skewed version of reality. A while back, I saw an article on who the main journalists supported, expecting to see a plethora of Manc, Scousers, Chelsea and Spuds, but the article I read suggested there were more arsenal supporters as journalists, I take it these people are the football equivalent of shy Tories.
    Think Liverpool are heading for some very choppy waters, they did well and should have done even better last season , it was all set up for them, but that was a bit of a one off bunch of players rapidly disappearing who will be very hard to replace, and even harder to keep should they prove proper replacements. Think Spurs will experience similar issues. But the media will carry on trying to fool us on both these clubs, in their desperation to see them sitting where we sit.

  4. Liverpool and their pusedo ego..hahaha.

    For me it looks like a huge man(Liverpool) hit on his family jewels, walks calmly across the room as if nothing has happened, walks to the wash room, closes the door and….aaaarrrrrhhhhhhhhh.

    Remember what Rodgers said on signing Balotelli. ‘He was all we could find.’ Thats not a good way to get the new player in.

  5. If Brendan ‘The Ego’ Rodgers could keep his mouth closed for more than 2 minutes and stop telling the press things like the ‘buying two superstars’ comment then they wouldn’t look like a bunch of plonkers. They do have an amazing history (as do Villa and Forest) but they’re getting to the stage when their history is becoming ancient. They need to reduce their press output an concentrate on developing some academy talent.
    I really can’t see Sterling being in the starting line up for any of the top 4 teams but even being a sub in the CL is better than the ‘Thursday night cup’.

  6. Liverpool’s problem, like Tottenham’s, is that they are making it increasingly hard for players to leave when they want to by being very “hard b*stard” in their negotiating. The key point is that if you are a player (and even more the player’s agent) you don’t want a big problem trying to prize your client out of the club if he (or you) wants to go.

    Therefore they are deterring prospective incoming players. Added to lack of success and lack of CL. Therefore they are forced to pay well over the odds – and then run the risk of having expensive misfits who they can’t shift (Hello Mario and Emmanuel).

    Even MU had to pay well over the odds for the likes of Di Maria last summer – but at least they had some credibility in terms of recent success, finances and the likelihood of returning to the CL before too long.

    Sadly, this all makes the PL very predictable. The top 6 can usually be forecast to within one place of where they will ultimately finish. I would suggest going back to splitting gate receipts 50:50…

  7. Liverpool fc kids not that bad they have IBE as his replacement.he go to Chelsea/ Manchester city or European club for £35- 45 million

  8. Fenway sports group is made up 17 members which own clubs in U.S. as well as new york Times and NESN.JW Henry is just public figure of group

  9. Quite simply Liverpool deserve this. They acted without honour with regard to Suarez, refusing to abide by the terms of the contract. No player is going to believe what they say and I believe Sterling when he says they are trying to bully him.

  10. @jayram

    Yes, those who are caught out being two faced are never thereafter believed!

  11. Let the facts become factual. Liverpool hate to see Raheem Sterling go to Arsenal. Hence the massive resistant by Brendan Rodgers and owner Henry to stop Raheem leaving. Couple with the unknown matter of not knowing if the boss will put in a bid for Sterling and if Liverpool would preferred to see Raheem went to Man City or Chelsea or even to their arch rival Man Utd than to see him go to Arsenal. The Arsenal hate by Liverpool is unprecedented. If at the end of the day Liverpool are unable to persuade Sterling to stay. And if Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea want him and may be Arsenal too. A bidding war could take place and I don’t know if Arsenal will outwared their 3 rivals by trade by batter plus cash. It all depends on the Boss prioritize transfer targets and the preference of Raheem wanting to play for Arsenal over the rest 3 clubs could tip the balance of success to Arsenal favour.

  12. Let the facts become factual. Liverpool hate to see Raheem Sterling go to Arsenal. Hence the massive resistant by Brendan Rodgers and owner JW Henry to stop Raheem leaving. Couple with the unknown matter of not knowing if the boss will put in a bidding for Sterling and if Liverpool would preferred to see Raheem went to Man City or Chelsea or even to their arch rival Man Utd than to see him go to Arsenal. The Arsenal hate by Liverpool is unprecedented. If at the end of the day Liverpool are unable to persuade Sterling to stay. And if Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea want him and may be Arsenal too. A bidding war could take place and I don’t know if Arsenal will outwar their 3 rivals by trade by batter plus cash. It all depends on the Boss prioritize transfer targets and the preference of Raheem wanting to play for Arsenal over the rest 3 clubs could tip the balance of success to Arsenal favour.

  13. I have a degree of sympathy with Liverpool fans, they are going through what we have been through. Some of those summers were not pleasant and massively hit the team and club…..and we had less income than Spurs or Liverpool now have to rebuild, we were royally stitched up by barca, an agent and Cesc….making a like for like replacement impossible, though we did better on other players. It it just me, or did that notorious first option on Cesc just seem like a hollow face saving jesture by AFC, put in a powerless position by their captain. But the reality, Liverpool will receive a lot of money and do to some other club, last summer, Southampton , what has been done to them……and so goes the circle of football life.
    The way these things work just adds to the sense of appreciation, held by some at least, for what Wenger has actually done.

  14. Sterling is an average overhyped player and certainly there are better wingers than him eg Bolasi but the fact that he is English puts the spotlight on him.

    Like Tony said, Liverpool did not manage the situation properly and maybe the Suarez saga might have contributed to his seeking for a ‘better’ club. Sometimes it’s not about the money. ManU is having same problem with DDG despite allegedly offering £200k p/w more than Madrid will pay him, but it’s managed differently.

    All the comments by the ex-players is not helping. Its as if they are bullying him into taking the contract or been doomed if he didn’t. Rooney left Everton at a younger age and didn’t go through this same problem and turned out fine.

    The bottom line is the currently, Sterling has both the knife and the Yam and can cut whichever way he wants (Using an idiom for my local language). With just about £4m to payoff his contract, he can choose whichever club he wants irrespective of whether Liverpool wishes him to go there or not. He should be allowed to freely make a decision and deal with the outcome if it fails. It’s him career after all.

    Does Arsenal need him, I don’t think so. Ox will take over the right side of midfield when fit. Good Luck to him though.

  15. So true Mandy ‘what Wenger has actually done’. Cesc is an Arsenal trained player but he has lost his humility & as Walter says has picked some fleas from the dogs he sleeps with. Agents are the biggest downfall of the game following the influx of money.

    I feel for Liverpool because for me Liverpool was Shankly. The man loved the game as Wenger does. Shame what has happened since Shanklys bootroom finished.

    It won’t be long before fans start walking away from the game because of value for money.

  16. Liverpool apparently voted Sterling as the most valuable player, and in presenting this award he was booed.

    Are the whorenalists dense, or what?

    They continue to put words in Arsene’s mouth. As near as I can tell, the whorenalists were pestering Arsene again (transfers), and having the “DM”. Wenger has the DM, his surname is Coquelin, and he does well.

    But he didn’t cost you anything (what does it cost to sign a player as a youth, develop them, …: it surely isn’t 0). Wenger picks a number out of thing air, 40 million (some currency). Now all these idiots in the press think that is the price Arsenal have for Coquelin.

    We can now expect a zillion news articles about Arsenal selling Coquelin to every team on Earth for 40 million.

    And N years from now, his value will continue to be 40 million.

    Comments don’t have a time frame. Dorks!

  17. Oh, part of the Coquelin thing, is that Wenger _must_ buy a player to cover/challenge Coquelin. Until confirmed deals end up at, Coquelin has competition for that position already (in no particular order): Chambers, Arteta, Flamini, Diaby. Wenger doesn’t need to buy squat to cover Coquelin. This is not to say someone appropriate won’t come on the market, but there is no _must_ buy.

  18. Interesting you bring up Shanks Menace, could there be a greater contrast between the great man and Liverpools present incumbent?
    The owners have not helped the situation either, as has been pointed out. A great club with great history, that needs to be managed better, but as an Arsenal fan, I am glad they are not!

  19. Sterling just wants to move to a better club i think. Now if he envisages City i suppose that money will have something to do with it and he could get more than £100,000 but if he does fancy Arsenal he will know that he won’t get £100,000 here until he has proven himself. We may never know the truth.

    I loved the “press conference”.
    AW has learned well to: speak little and say little especially when asked nosey questions. It is a pleasure to listen to his answers which are completely normal when asked a normal question but are so resolute when asked a probing transfer related question. When will they ever learn?

  20. I guess you must in some way admire the exertions of the ex Liverpool players for their adamant consensus in trying to influence Sterling to stay at their club .
    Ex Arsenal players on the other hand are united in exhorting our players to desert the club for ‘greener’ pastures .
    I don’t think we need Sterling , and we are only being ‘used’ to up his price . Ain’t gonna work !

  21. On the way to work this morning ,I heard a local radio channel announce that Arsenal have ‘opened’ negotiations to sign Peter Cech , who apparently does not want to leave London . They must know something we don’t !

  22. Steve0 can you give me the source of the idea that the notice under Webster has to be within 15 days of the last competitive match at the end of the season after 3 years?

  23. All this Media hype over Sterling??!! Has he really shown to be so much in demand except as para states for someone like ManC who have a need for English players. Personally I don’t dee how he would fit into Arsenals’ current squad apart from being a squad player – seeing infrequent appearances and certainly NOT a starting 11 player (on what I have seen from him to date).

    His agents are doing a fine propaganda job for him!!

  24. Steve0, If Arsenal want Sterling (I suspect we don’t),and if he can only be available after December, Arsene has the patience to wait. Look, we waited a whole year for Theo to come back, and we know we will be a fine player next season, so if we want Sterling, we will surely get him, especially if he also wants to come to us too.

  25. I may have missed something in the Webster Ruling but I find the intent a bit puzzling.
    The Ruling states that a player can unilaterally walk away from his contract, after a fixed period, regardless of the length of the contract itself.
    Am I right in assuming that here is a loophole for a player to “arrange” his transfer to another club outside the bi-annual transfer Windows?

  26. For all the debate about Player’s lack of intelligence and will go to any Club if the Pay is Right. I’m afraid that is only part of the story in my humble opinion. Lets look back to When the Great Man (AW) arrived at Arsenal, he already had a vision for the Club, interms of structure, how it should be run and its future. So without destablising the club, AW gradually built the Club to what it has become against constant negative carpping from the Media and the aaa know it all. Liverpool’s problem is not Raheem Sterling wanting to leave, the problem lies from the Board down to the Manager. Liverpool of the Shankly years had a structure and vision, unfortunately that is now missing. For example you can recognise the Southhampton Model. Maybe this is why when Brendan Rodgers tries to by a Big Marquee player, what Vision can he sell to the Player. I’m afraid AAA AW does know what he’s doing.

  27. @Benn E,
    I wonder if you are crediting Arsene with too much power and influence since his arrival at Arsenal FC.
    There can be little doubt that he has supreme control over the movement, coaching and dietary matters affecting players. He may well have had more than a hand in the planning of the Ems.
    But as to the Club’s overall structure, how it should be run and its future…I wonder. 😉

  28. Tony

    I will answer for Steve O

    Stirlingshire protected period ends, as Steve O correctly states in December 2015. three years after he signed his current contract

    Article 16 of FIFAs Regulations on The Status & Transfer of Players clearly states that a players contract cannot be terminated during the course of a season. In the FA rule book the football season in England runs from 1 July to 31 May.

    Article 17 of UEFAs rules is the crucial rule with regard to players ending their contracts and in effect any club that signed Sterling if he were to walk away from his contract before the end of the 2015/16 season will in effect be found guilty of encouraging him to break his contract and as a consequence be subjected to a ban on participating in any player dealings

  29. Tony, Steve0, Mike T, et al

    I am not a lawyer, but what else does one do when you first wake up and haven’t had significant coffee?,%201299,%201300.pdf

    Merits of the Appeals Pg 18 of 30

    Paragraph 28.

    Consideration of “Article 17 Consequences of Terminating a Contract Without Just Cause

    Point 3. In addition to the obligation to pay compensation, sporting sanc
    tions shall also be imposed on any player
    found to be in breach of contract during the Protected Period. This sanction shall be a restriction of four
    months on his eligibility to play in Official Matches. In the case of aggravating circumstances, the
    iction shall be six months. In all cases, these sporting sanctions shall take effect from the start of the
    following Season of the New Club. Unilateral breach without just cause or sporting just cause after the
    Protected Period will not result in sporting
    sanctions. Disciplinary measure may, however, be imposed
    outside of the Protected Period for failure to give due notice of termination (i.e. within fifteen days
    following the last match of the Season). The Protected Period starts again when, while renewing
    contract, the duration of the previous contract is extended

    Some of those (introductory) words are from the end of page 17.

    This reminds me of a recent article on Ars Technica, where a constitutional scholar talks about the writing of constitutional law and Star Wars (George Lucas).

    In any event, it looks like the Webster ruling actually writes law not necessary for the resolution of the matter at hand (Webster’s case), and it is in that law, that this 14 (or 15) days comes into play and some consideration of the last match of the season.

    In any event, it appears to me that what Steve0 is bringing up has to do with whether or not there is just cause for termination. Which I don’t know if there is evidence to decide in view.

    I think that if a player appeals to this ruling for relief and it is found that the player is substantially responsible for the need to dissolve the agreement, the player can be barred from playing for 4 (or even 6) months in the next season for the new team.

    My reading of the CAS document, suggests that neither FIFA statutes or SPFA contracts were sufficiently well thought out, and that dispute resolution will often require drawing in advice from elsewhere.

  30. Laws and rules are big opaque beasts.
    Paragraphs here and paragraphs here, articles and sub-articles, no wonder no one has any idea of what’s right and wrong within the halls of law and rules.

    I always thought simplicity and transparency were the best options for laws and rules. Everyone than knows exactly what to expect when the laws and rules are broken.

    One of the silly laws in football: Allowing a player to sign for 5 or 6 years which invariably gives them higher pay yet allowing them to cancel out of the contract after 3 years.

    I must confess that i fail to see the sense of this and come to think of it, many other rulings. My mind must be made up so differently. I suppose that is why i’ve always felt somewhat alien(alien strange not ufo alien) since i could understand things.

  31. That one I can answer Para.

    If I give you a bonus of 1 million, and that first contract is for 30 years, I can amoritize the cost over 30 years, regardless of you being able to leave in 3 years or not. In 3 years time, hardly any of the cost would have been recovered, and hence the player would need to pay most of the 1 million signing bonus back in penalties.

  32. Have to say I agree with a lot of what you posted on this occasion Tony. Liverpool and United are the 2 biggest media darlings in the country by far because they have more fans than any other club in England so you will see less articles that are critical of either of those clubs.

    The Sterling issue smacks of hypocrisy for me – fair enough, he could’ve handled things better and not come out with that unauthorised interview the other week but it wasn’t as bad as the public statement RVP made just before he left Arsenal for United. Yet where was the criticism of van Persie in the media for the disparaging comments he’d made about Arsenal? Either way, for his claims that Arsenal “lacked ambition”, they were still in a better position back then than Liverpool are now. Like most modern day players, Sterling isn’t bothered about what Liverpool have won in the past (unless he was a Liverpool fan, why should he be?). He wants to play Champions League football and Liverpool aren’t in the Champions League next season. Sure, he’s probably motivated by money as well as ambition but Liverpool can’t on the one hand say he’s not worth more than £100,000 a week but on the other hand imply that they want a whopping £50 million for him should he be sold. For me, a £50 million player should be getting more than £100,000 a week regardless of whether we think he deserves it or not.

    Let’s also not forget that loyalty works both ways in football – people are often quick to slate players for wanting to move on while under contract but clubs are often guilty of canning players that are still under contract because they don’t deem them to be of any use anymore.

  33. @Stonyk, your post of 6.51pm 19th May refers. About Walcott no longer being selected for England and sitting on the bench of a top four club. You conveniently forgot that the lad has been injured for a year or so. Should talented players be selected, injuries and all? Sitting on the bench at Arsenal must have been frustrating for both player and coach, but I believe AW must know a thing or two about such a scenario that you (and yours truly) dont know.

    It is wrong and misleading to assume Walcott is finished or that he’s at the end of his playing days simply because he has missed so many months of game time. He will be BACK and BETTER, as his performance in the last two matches has shown ( vs. ManU and Sunderland). I have a feeling that game time will improve his sharpness. International selection is only a matter of time. It will come when it will.

  34. Some cracking comments below from Sterling’s agent about, amongst other things, the PR game all those ex-Liverpool players are playing. Also says Sterling won’t be signing a new contract even if he was offered 900k a week! I’ll say this in all sincerity – even as a City fan, while I’d like to see us sign him, if he chooses Arsenal over us then fair play. I reckon he’d revel in Arsenal’s style of play just as I think he would if he was playing for us:

    Liverpool have cancelled Friday’s planned meeting with forward Raheem Sterling over comments attributed to the player’s agent.
    Aidy Ward reportedly said the England forward, 20, will not sign a new deal even if offered “£900,000 a week”.
    “I don’t care about the PR of the club,” Ward told the Evening Standard.
    Sterling was expected to tell the Reds he wants a move away from Anfield this summer and has already rejected a new £100,000-a-week contract.
    ‘Sterling is definitely not signing’

    Liverpool believe there would be no point in having a meeting when the player’s representative is quoted as saying a new deal would not be signed regardless of the figure.
    In the newspaper interview, Ward also used a four-letter expletive to describe ex-Red Jamie Carragher, who has criticised Sterling’s actions.
    “He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week. He is not signing,” said Ward.
    “My job is to make sure I do the best with them [my clients]. If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.”
    Sterling’s contract runs until 2017 and he told Reds manager Brendan Rodgers before the Premier League draw at Chelsea on 10 May he wants to leave the club.
    He was set to formalise his request in a meeting with Rodgers and Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre on Friday, which will now not happen.
    Sterling denied being a “money-grabber” in a BBC Sport interview last month, but has come in for criticism from some of Liverpool’s former players, including Carragher.
    Ward added: “Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players – none of those things matter to me. It is not relevant.”

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