After watching the artistry on show throughout the Wimbledon Men’s final, which culminated in a second successive title for the seemingly unstoppable Novak Djokovic, many were contemplating a typical summer Sunday evening without the joys of Premier League football to watch, discuss and enjoy.
However, one of League’s most talented youngsters had other ideas.
Just as those on Twitter had finished complementing the impeccable Serb on his victory over Roger Federer, a social media explosion irrupted.
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Sterling move done
Raheem Sterling was the catalyst for an outpouring of opinion, not because of a sublime piece of skill or an astute finish, but the completion a £49million move from Liverpool to Manchester City - which epitomises the mind-numbing nature of English football’s off-season.
The move has divided opinion, but for me this is a transfer that benefits all parties...well, nearly all of them.
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End of a saga
For the player at the heart of it all, it marks the end of a testing period in what is an embryonic career. Sterling and his notorious agent Aidy Ward have come in for a formidable amount of criticism, a lot of it warranted.
However, the shameless behaviour - which included that awkward interview - is now in the past and they have achieved their desired end result, whether this would have happened without Ward’s antics is a debate that will run and run.
Away from the monetary issues, Sterling finds himself at a club in which his development should be accelerated. In essence he has swapped the likes of Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho for Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Augero - a staggering difference in standard.
We all witnessed the influence a similar world class talent - Luis Suarez - had on Sterling’s game and City have a team of them. The guarantee of Champions League football is another luxury he would have missed out by remaining at Liverpool.
Not all bad news for Liverpool
It’s far from doom and gloom at Anfield however, as Liverpool fans have been quite quick to point out. For the second season running they’ve acquired a monstrous sum of money for a single player, which should be - or more to the point, needs to be - reinvested in the team.
If FSG and Rodgers can avoid a repeat of last summer’s mistakes, they may just be able to strengthen a side that is once again struggling to live up to the fans expectations.
The likes of Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Danny Ings and Nathaniel Clyne are a creditable start, but additions are required in order to usurp a Champions League place from the current holders.
With Manchester City needing at least five homegrown players to meet the necessary quota of eight, Sterling will at the very least fill one of these spots. To suggest that this is the motive behind the move is incredibly harsh on Sterling and somewhat flatters an ageing City side in need of revitalising.
City’s squad has severely lacked pace - barring the inconsistent Jesus Navas - in the last couple of seasons, which doesn’t help when the average age of their squad is between 28 and 29. The likes of Toure, Silva, Samir Nasri and Fernandinho aren't known for speed, and whilst Sergio Aguero is no slouch, the direct running and pace of Sterling will only benefit City’s creative quartet.
Silva should especially enjoy linking up with a player willing to gamble on his exquisite through balls time and again.
Positive effect on the national front
Meanwhile England manager Roy Hodgson will no doubt be relieved that one of his key players can return to concentrating on football. Hodgson’s use of Sterling has been an admirable act during an otherwise underwhelming time in charge of the national side and if Hodgson and England are to achieve anything in France next year, they will need Sterling to shine.
An injury-free season at City is a must for England’s hopes, as well as lots of rest in between games to avoid another bout of tiredness that ‘impeded’ Sterling last October.
Rodgers now under pressure?
There is one man that the move both benefits and hinders, the uber-confident Brendan Rodgers. Now that the Sterling saga has ended, the spotlight turns solely on Liverpool’s under-fire manager. Many were surprised that Rodgers wasn’t sacked following the humiliating defeat to Stoke on the last day of the season.
In an age where managers have a short lifespan, the Liverpool board have to be commended for sticking by their man, but the pressure is now back on. A poor start to the season and Rodgers' career - not just as Liverpool manager - could be in serious trouble.
All things considered this is a move that satisfies the needs of all involved. Despite the ludicrous price tag - which like many transfers these days, is somewhat irrelevant and no longer represents the actually worth of a player - Sterling has such a level of potential, that one day he could well be worth it.
Liverpool fans, do you agree? Is Sterling good enough for Manchester City or will he regret the move?
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