Raheem Sterling has completed his move to Manchester City for £49m, a move which sees the 20-year-old become the most expensive English footballer ever. However as this bitter saga comes to an end, is it clear if any parties have gained anything from the whole sorry situation?
You may think that City are the big winners in this transfer, but having paid a whopping £49m it'll be a long time until they see a return on their investment. Agreeably however, they have gained the services of one of England's best players.
In the current market, where players of all ages go for ludicrously inflated fees, £49 million doesn't seem all that bad. Considering that Gareth Bale was transferred to Real Madrid for just over double that it may appear that City have picked up a player similar to the calibre of Bale for half the price.
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Yes, Sterling hasn't been as consistent for Liverpool as Bale was for Tottenham before the transfer but that only demonstrates the confidence City have in the youngster. They must believe that with the right coaching and playtime, Sterling could evolve to be the next Bale or even Eden Hazard.
As far as Liverpool are concerned, they must be relieved to see the back of Sterling and feeling smug at getting more than £30 million for him. Looking at the situation from their perspective for a moment, Sterling has behaved no better than a five-year-old demanding their mother buys them two chocolate bars from the supermarket.
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The greed of the boy to turn down a £100,000-a-week contract from the team that made him the star he his is verging on vulgar and at the very least, incredibly disrespectful. And to claim in an interview that you aren't a money grabbing 20-year-old and then go and sign for a club willing to pay you £200k-a-week is beyond ironic.
In the transfer window so far, attacking-wise, Liverpool have already acquired former City man James Milner, Burnley striker Danny Ings and Brazil ace Roberto Firmino, all of which are capable replacements for Sterling.
Evidently the biggest winner of all is Sterling's agent, Aidy Ward, a slimy businessman who held Liverpool to ransom for his client's services post 2017. This is the man who said Raheem wouldn't accept a new contract even if he was paid £900,000-a-week. For Liverpool, a club affiliated with loyalty and respect, it was much easier to cut their loses than hold onto a player who seemingly was going to do everything to force through a move away from Anfield anyway.
With the inevitable transfer of Sterling reportedly costing City £100m in total, after three years of wages and bonuses, it appears Mr. Ward has played the situation perfectly to his advantage, with himself poised to receive a huge payday when it all goes through.
It's worth noting that West Bromwich Albion striker and future England star Saido Berahino has cut all ties with Mr. Ward, which is a positive sign from a player very much of the same mould as Sterling who is young, naïve and currently inconsistent.
It's all well and good examining who's won in the transfer of Sterling, but it's also worth mentioning the most obvious losers; the Liverpool fans. In one calendar year they've lost the three pivotal talents that almost won them the 2013/14 Premier League title, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and now, Sterling.
This must prove to be a gut wrenching dent to the confidence of Liverpool fans going into the 2015/16 season, who will look through their potential starting 11 before acquiring their new signings and wonder where their world class players are coming from. With the notable exception of Brazil attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho, who was arguably Liverpool's best player last season, the Reds don't have any world class talent to chose from.
With last season's disappointing performance, despite Brendan Rogers raiding Southampton's best players, Liverpool's fans will be hoping the same doesn't happen again with the Sterling money as with the Suarez money.
Having made the squad filling transfers Rogers did last summer, it's vital he uses this influx of cash to invest in a star player and for the money he gets for Sterling it won't be hard to find that kind of mesmeric talent - even in today's market.
Who is the biggest winner from the Sterling transfer saga?
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