Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been linked with a shock move to bring Raheem Sterling back to Anfield from Premier League rivals Manchester City.
Liverpool legend Phil Thompson is not expecting to see Raheem Sterling swap Manchester City for Merseyside any time soon, telling Sky Sports’ Football Show (16 April, 9am) that the England international’s Anfield story is over.
It always felt like a flawed argument to suggest that Sterling’s controversial, £49 million move from one Premier League giant to another in 2015 was motivated by a hefty pay packet. After all, City had finished second the previous season, four places and 17 points ahead of a Liverpool side who, at the time, appeared to be going nowhere particularly fast under Jurgen Klopp.
And, during five years at the Etihad, Sterling has blossomed into one of the most feared forwards in European football, thanks in part to the infamous micro-management of Pep Guardiola.
The London-born superstar has scored 20 goals in three successive seasons now.
But with Liverpool on the verge of replacing Man City as Premier League champions, speculation has arisen suggesting that Sterling would be open to a sensation return to Anfield (L’Equipe). The man himself only fanned the flames too when he publicly admitted his admiration for the club who gave him his breakthrough at the top level.
Though former Liverpool captain Thompson is not exactly holding his breath as talk of an emotional homecoming rages on.
“I think the time for a return has gone,” said a three-time European Cup winner. “I still felt he had a lot to do when he left Liverpool. I thought he was a good young player whose finishing could be better, and he’s become a great player.
“I would think that when Pep Guardiola leaves Manchester City, Sterling will move on. The way Raheem is, Real Madrid, Juventus or Barcelona, one of those super-clubs – will tempt him.”
City would likely demand a fee well in excess of £100 million for Sterling should they receive any approaches this summer – and that is likely to be a little too rich for Liverpool even if they did want to bring the 25-year-old back.