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Raheem Sterling 'will reject £9m a year' from Liverpool

In-depth: Raheem Sterling's long-running contractual impasse with Liverpool looks set to continue with the forward reportedly ready to reject the club’s latest offer.

WHAT HAPPENED

A couple of weeks ago Liverpool tabled what manager Brendan Rodgers described as an "incredible" offer - reported to be in the region of £100,000 a week - to keep England forward Raheem Sterling at Anfield.

Despite Rodgers' bullishness, numerous reports claimed that Liverpool's offer is "nowhere near" matching what Sterling wants - and adding that the 20-year-old has now refused to take part in any more negotiations until the end of the season.

Rodgers had suggested an agreement was imminent but latest reports suggest there has been a worsening in negotiations: talks with Sterling are said to have hit another snag, and it is understood that even if Liverpool offer £180,000 a week he will not sign. £180,000 equates to £9m a year - half as much again as Barcelona pay Neymar.

Sterling only signed an improved contract in December 2012 and his current deal does not expire until 2017.

SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION

 

LINEKER TWEET: No wonder he's waiting for the season to end

 

TWEET: Raheem Sterling seems to turn down an awful lot of contract offers

OUR VIEW

Sterling is a good player. £180,000-per-week good? Absolutely not, even if it's fair to say that he might reach those levels at some point in his career.

The sort of money Sterling is reportedly ready to reject should be the reserve of the world’s very best. Putting morality issues aside, there's a strong argument that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi bring huge value to their clubs (on and off the field) despite their huge pay packets, but the same cannot be said of Sterling. Not yet, and not for a long time.

However, as is oft the case with transfer stories, this latest revelation should be treated with an air of caution; it was only a week ago that we were being told that Sterling was holding out for £150,000. A £30,000-per-week change of heart is quite the considerable change – in fact, it is a barely-believable shift.

If Sterling’s true market value is £180,000 per week – if there truly are teams willing to pay him that much – then it would be wise for Liverpool to cut their losses and cash in this summer while his transfer fee would still be eye-wateringly high. If Liverpool can get anywhere near the mooted £60m+ for a player unproven in the Champions League or at international level, then they should absolutely take it.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Sterling’s contract does not expire until 2017, so, from Liverpool’s point of view, there should not be a huge rush to get the deal done. It makes sense to wait until the close season and re-start negotiations from there. If Sterling’s demands truly are above £180,000-a-week then Liverpool should sell. Not only are those demands staggeringly inflated but they also set a worrying precedent. Many of Sterling’s colleagues would expect parity when their contracts come up for negotiation.

Our best guess? Yes, Sterling’s wage demands are huge, but his value to Liverpool is also colossal. More than that, when you factor in what they would have to pay in transfer fees and wages to replace him, it makes sense for them to swallow their pride and pay up - not £180k a week, but probably around £130-£150k. And Sterling would be crazy not to sign - he has simply not shown enough for any of Europe's elite clubs to come in for him, so Liverpool represents his best hope of achieving the genuine superstar status he needs to one day join the £10m-a-year club. The biggest worry is that it's the £10m-a-year bit of the equation that is driving his career, rather than the aspiration to legendary status on the pitch.