It’s been less than a month since the summer transfer window slammed shut, but reports about players’ futures continue to hit the headlines.
One of the reports dominating British media at the moment is that of Real Madrid making a swoop for Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling next summer.
It has been reported by The Mirror that Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has placed the 19-year-old ‘on top of his hit-list after his stunning form for club and country’, with Madrid having been ‘alerted by the fact that the Reds have yet to tie down Sterling to a long-term contract’.
Sterling reportedly receives £30,000 a week as part of a contract that runs out in June 2017 so until and unless Liverpool increase his salary they run the risk of losing him to Madrid, who can certainly offer him a much more lucrative wage package.
At the moment, these are all ‘reports’. Madrid have given no concrete sign yet that they are interested in Sterling and, in all fairness, at this moment in time there is no place in Ancelotti’s starting line-up for the England international.
But if Madrid are genuinely interested or if they become truly keen on Sterling in the future, then they will get him. There’s no two ways about it.
Madrid always get the players they want – always. Over the past few years, they have snapped up the top players in the Premier League. Remember how Cristiano Ronaldo was prised away from England’s biggest club Manchester United? Remember how Gareth Bale was scooped away from Tottenham Hotspur right after winning FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2013.
Of course, Liverpool are a big club and they will not let go of Sterling easily, but Madrid are at a different level. For the youngster, it would represent the chance of a lifetime, and playing with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos would be too much to resist.
Given the attacking talent that Madrid have at the moment, they are unlikely to make a move for Sterling anytime soon. But if the Liverpool youngster’s stock rises as the season progresses, then it should not come as a surprise if they make space for him in the team.
After all, last summer Madrid sold Mesut Ozil and this summer they let go of Angel di Maria to bring in big-name players. The 10-time European champions could do the same next year.
Liverpool could tie Sterling down to a better and longer contract, but that is unlikely to fend off Madrid (or any other big club). All they would have to do is come up with a bigger wage package, and Madrid can certainly do that.
However, Liverpool fans need not worry about losing Sterling right now. For all talks of Madrid being interested in the teenager, they have yet to give a concrete signal that they want him. All this is just ‘paper talk’ at the moment.
But if – and it is a big if – Madrid do start taking interest in Sterling, then Liverpool will have a hard time keeping hold of one of the brightest young players in Europe.