John Terry has seemingly given his backing to Chelsea making a move to sign Liverpool star Raheem Sterling after labelling the 20-year-old an "exceptional player."
The Blues skipper also backed Sterling over his standoff with Liverpool over a new contract, claiming he has been treated unfairly by both his current club and the press over his decision to reject a £100,000-a-week deal.
Sterling now looks set to leave Anfield despite having two years remaining on his current deal. Manchester City are leading the race but Chelsea, along with Arsenal, are also believed to be interested.
His agent has claimed that there is no way back in contract negotiations, stating that Sterling would even reject a £900,000-a-week contract at Liverpool. That has lead to claims that the young England international has simply been ill-advised and is already trying to cash in on his talent.
“I didn’t realise how good he was until I played against him three or four times. He’s an exceptional player"
But Terry has backed Sterling over his stance, saying he has the ability and the talent to warrant such behaviour.
An exceptional player
Terry told talkSPORT: “Raheem has taken a bit of stick recently, but I was really impressed by him.
“I didn’t realise how good he was until I played against him three or four times. He’s an exceptional player.
“At times he’s been unfairly treated this year with the press he’s got. He’s a young player and wants to play at the very top for the very best.
“He’s got ambitions to play in the Champions League and continue playing for his country.”
Could Chelsea sign him?
Chelsea have been linked with a move for Sterling but seem to be trailing both Manchester City and Arsenal in the race.
Manuel Pellegrini has already seen two bids of £30m and £35m knocked back and is thought to be preparing a final offer of £45m.
Only when Liverpool accept are Chelsea or Arsenal likely to make a counter offer but they will be hoping Sterling's affinity to London will give them a chance of sealing a transfer.
Sterling grew up in north London and spent the majority of his youth career at west London club QPR. His desire to return to the capital is believed to be one of the main motivators behind his decision to reject a deal with Liverpool.
Baulking at the price
However, Jose Mourinho is a shrewd man when it comes to transfer and is committed to keeping Chelsea on the right side of financial fair play.
As a result, Chelsea are believed to be baulking at the £50m price tag and are unlikely to go as high as Manchester City are seemingly willing to.
The price tag has been inflated by his homegrown status and Manchester City's chronic lack of such stars has left them with little choice but to pay over the odds.
Would you pay £50m for Raheem Sterling if you were Jose Mourinho?
Give us YOUR thoughts in the comment box below!