Oh, no, no, no. This is not right. Manchester City and Liverpool have agreed a $76 million transfer fee for Raheem Sterling? And he’s set to move to City any moment This is not the natural order of things, not at all.
It’s July 13. The transfer window doesn’t shut until Sept. 1. These clubs have no business sorting this move out until late August at the earliest, with Sky Sports turning into 24-hour Raheem-o-vision and the tension ratcheting up amid daring acts of brinkmanship, with the wantaway England starlet threatening to quit soccer and go to college to study IT while Liverpool says off-the-record that they it send him to train with the under-11s. Where is the standard-issue quote from Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: “As far as I’m concerned, Raheem’s still our player and I expect him to be challenging for a place in the team come Saturday”?
It’s only 103 days since Sterling gave the interview to the BBC that precipitated this whole saga by saying he’d turned down a $155,000-a-week contract but was not a “money-grabbing 20-year-old.”
I know it was ambitious, but it would have been nice to see this one approach the 150-day mark, really push the envelope, show some stamina. Take the great Wayne Rooney transfer saga of 2013. That started in March and wasn’t resolved until September. If Sterling truly has ambitions to be an English Premier League great, that’s the kind of level of long-term innuendo and rumor he should be aiming for.
Instead, we get a timely resolution in which everyone wins. Liverpool get a great price for a player its fans are delighted to see go. Rodgers gets a large chunk of cash to waste on mediocrities.
Manchester City get a decent player and can snort derisively in the face of Financial Fair Play, having agreed to pay Liverpool twice as much as he’s worth, with almost all of the money up front – turning a player who’s at best promising and exciting when he’s in the mood into the most expensive Englishman in history.
Not to mention the salary, which is so large it’s going to inflate wages for good young players across the EPL. Because this non-money-grabbing 20-year-old sees is about to see his weekly wage rise from $55,000 to, reportedly, $310,000.
Sterling’s much-maligned agent, Aidy Ward, has got the job done, getting his client the size of deal and club he wanted. And it all apparently got done without a formal transfer request, which might have weakened the player’s negotiating position.
Even his former club, Queens Park Rangers, wins. It gets $15 million as part of a sell-on clause, according to the BBC. And Sterling never even played a first-team minute for QPR.
All in all, a serious let down. We’ll look for better next summer, when it’s surely time for Rooney to once again agitate for a shock move in order to wrangle a higher salary.