If Raheem Sterling does live up to the media hype surrounding his refusal to sign a new contract and moves on from Liverpool, a major decision of his would be where best to play his football. Many of the world's largest clubs are reportedly interested in acquiring his services, but where would be best for Sterling?
Stay at Liverpool
There is no doubt that, despite his “disrespect towards Liverpool fans” according to Sky Sports’ Charlie Nicholas, everyone at the club would much prefer him to stay. According to WhoScored.com, in the 35 games Sterling played for Liverpool in the Premier League last season, of which just one was a substitute appearance, Sterling scored seven goals and made seven assists, maintaining an average match rating of 7.27.
These numbers are highly impressive, and considering that Steven Gerrard was the club’s highest scorer with nine, puts Raheem Sterling second in Liverpool’s scoring charts. This shows how vital Sterling was to Liverpool last season, and therefore could be in the future. At just 20 years old, and having rejected a contract worth £100,000 a week, Liverpool will be keen to prove that no individual is bigger than the club.
Move to Chelsea
One possible route out of Anfield for Sterling could be a move to Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho has thus far been unmoved with regards to signing Sterling, but the title winning side could prove an opportunity too good for the midfielder to turn down. Working alongside stars such as Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, as well as a proven manager such as Jose Mourinho could also be a major contributing factor to Sterling’s decision.
Furthermore, Roman Abramovich could also offer wages higher than most, and on par with clubs such as Real Madrid. Considering wages were Sterling’s stumbling block with Liverpool, Chelsea could be the place for Sterling to flourish. However, Chelsea possess an abundance of talent in the midfield department, with names such as Eden Hazard, Willian and Juan Cuadrado operating as natural wingers (Sterling’s preferred position), it is doubtful as to whether Sterling would get enough game time to justify a move to Chelsea.
Move to Arsenal
Arsenal is also another destination that has been suggested for Sterling, a rumour given more clout given the fact Sterling has apparently started a house search in London, according to the Daily Mail. Pacey wingers, especially who are English, are becoming more and more rare in the Premier League, and whilst Arsenal boast perhaps two of the better English wingers in Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but both of these players’ futures as wingers look increasingly in doubt, having recently been played in central roles.
This would open up the possibility of a first-team spot for Raheem Sterling in Arsene Wenger’s ranks. However, a midfield comprising of Theo Walcott/Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling on the wings is a threat to every Premier League club; Arsenal’s preference for a pacey team mentality would most definitely suit Sterling. It would seem that Sterling could be the final piece to an Arsenal jigsaw who are just a couple of stellar signings away from a serious Premier League title challenge.
Move to Manchester City
Given the departure of James Milner to Liverpool, Manchester City are left with just one English player in their senior squad. This will be of utmost concern to Manuel Pelligrini, who needs to find English talent rapidly in order to fill the Champions League home-grown player quota. It therefore seems like a move to Manchester City could be beneficial to both City and Sterling.
The media has claimed Manchester City were the first club to make contact with Sterling after news broke that he would not sign a new contract with Liverpool, so perhaps they hold advantage over other clubs interested in Sterling’s services. A team with stellar names such as Sergio Aguero and David Silva would certainly mean that Sterling would be a valued member of the City squad, and the combination of Jesus Navas and Raheem Sterling on Manchester City’s wings could provide them with the pace that so many of their attacks lacked last season. Wages would also not be an issue for Manchester City.
Move to Manchester United
Perhaps the least likely of all transfers between English clubs for Raheem Sterling would be to move to Manchester United. News broke on June 4 that Manchester United are considering a move for Sterling.
According to Metro boss Louis van Gaal is “an admirer of the speedster’s pace and ability to always try and beat an opponent”. However, van Gaal has already signed Memphis Depay from PSV, and with Nani, Antonio Valenica, Ashley Young and Angel Di Maria as viable options for Manchester United on the wings, it seems unlikely that Raheem Sterling is interested in a move to the club, or vice versa. Indeed, the fact that no players has switched Liverpool for Manchester United since 1938, it is almost certain that Manchester United will not sign Raheem Sterling.
Real Madrid are the most prominent overseas club with a vested interest in Raheem Sterling, with new boss Rafa Benitez confirming that the club “admire” Sterling. However, with Gareth Bale’s world record £86m move to Los Blancos having come under massive scrutiny, apparently due to his substandard performances last season, there is a very real potential that a move to Real Madrid could ruin Sterling’s public image. Nevertheless, a move to Real Madrid is not something that comes along too often, and the opportunity to play with players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale could be an opportunity too good for Sterling to turn down.