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Why Zidane's comments on Sterling could be bad news for Liverpool

The former Real Madrid star has been talking openly about Real Madrid's recruitment policy in relation to Raheem Sterling.

Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, the Raheem Sterling contract saga is set to be a story that drags on deep into the summer, or at least until the winger signs a new contract, or is sold.

While the likes of Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger displayed cautious replies when confronted with questions on the Liverpool star in their press conferences either side of this weekend's games, it is noticeable that two people connected to a club with the most ruthless and ambitious recruitment strategy in world football have taken a very different tact.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who has had his run-ins with the Merseyside club and their various managers in the past, openly discussed the problems Brendan Rodgers has with the England winger in relation to his contract issues. His admission that, as BBC quoted, "every player has his price", is unlikely to diffuse speculation linking Sterling to any and every financial powerhouse in European football, not least Chelsea.

But it is a club Mourinho managed at, Real Madrid, that seemed to go one step further than the Portuguese in the last couple of days, and considering Real, and La Liga in general's harvesting of Premier League talent in recent years, it will certainly give Rodgers cause for concern.

Real's 'B' team manager and former favourite Zinedine Zidane has admitted that the Spanish giants have their eye on Sterling, before comparing him to a number of expensive acquisitions they have made in recent years

“We know who Raheem Sterling is, and of course we are monitoring him as a player," the World Cup winner is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“There are very few players in the world who can improve the Real Madrid squad, so it is going to make sense we monitor the progress of the best young players in the world.

“We monitored (Gareth) Bale for over a year, the same with Isco and also (Raphael) Varane.

“We monitor many of the best young players in Europe, then if we feel they have something to offer Real Madrid we will contact their club and try and make the next step.”

Of course, the fact Zidane, as a mouthpiece for Real's intentions, is talking to the media about the player and the situation before his club talk to Liverpool, is a commonly perceived tactic at trying to unsettle those the Champions League holders have identified.

It is interesting that Zidane is the one that is discussing Sterling, with him not currently a member of Carlo Ancellotti's first team staff.

However, with the Italian rumoured to be set to depart the Bernabeu in the summer, and Zidane being touted as a replacement by people like Sky Sports Spanish expert Terry Gibson, there is the chance that Florentino Perez may want to give his new manager some high-profile and exciting new players.

Which could lead to Liverpool fending off La Liga interest in one of their star players for the second year in a row. 

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