The 19-year-old England international spent his formative years with QPR before being snapped up by Liverpool for an initial £500,000 in 2010. By this point he was already considered one of English football's brightest young talents, but a host of top Premier League clubs still turned down the chance to sign him.
Gallen reveals reasons behind snub
This is according to QPR youth coach Steve Gallen, who revealed the reasons behind the clubs' decision to reject the teenager - a choice which, with the benefit of hindsight, now looks disastrous.
"Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, they all knew about Raheem. But their attitude was: 'Too small, too much baggage'," Gallen told reporters. "At the time, I wanted him to stay at QPR. I persuaded the reserves to give him his debut at 15 so he'd feel he was being fast-tracked. But at one meeting, after training, Raheem said 'Steve, I have to go'."
"Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, they all knew about Raheem. But their attitude was: 'Too small, too much baggage'." Gallen on Sterling
QPR powerless to keep Sterling
Gallen said that while QPR were desperate to keep Sterling at Loftus Road, they were powerless to prevent him from leaving the club because of his considerable talent, and subsequently agreed to let him move to Anfield.
"I could see how genuinely upset he was and I thought, 'I can't do that to a kid', so we reluctantly agreed to listen to offers," he added. "Now, with hindsight, I can see it was the right thing for him to leave, as much for a change in environment off the pitch."
Sterling is on course to fulfil his immense potential after a superb couple of seasons with Liverpool under the management of Brendan Rodgers. The England international, who was part of Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad, was even linked with a shock £48 million move to Chelsea earlier this month.
Liverpool want to tie Sterling down to new deal
Liverpool are desperate to tie Sterling down to a new long-term contract and have offered him a deal in the region of £100,000-a-week. The winger still has three years left to run on his current contract, but the Reds know the chances of them losing the youngster increase with every passing month that he fails to put pen-to-paper on a new deal.
As well as Chelsea, it's also been reported that Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have an interest in signing the live-wire winger, who scored 10 goals in 37 appearances for the Reds last season.
On Wednesday, Sterling will go up against Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages. He was recently involved in controversy after England boss Hodgson told reporters that the player stated he was too tired to start against Estonia, but he looked fresh during Sunday's dramatic 3-2 win over QPR and will start against the reigning European champions this week.