Former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer believes Raheem Sterling should stay at Anfield - because he would struggle to make the starting line-ups of Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
The former Republic of Ireland international feels Sterling has been distracted by his agent - an accusation echoed by Jamie Carragher over recent months - and that it's in the winger's best interests to stay where he is.
“I feel like I need to protect Raheem Sterling a bit,” he told talkSPORT. “His agent is doing all of the damage. He’s the one who’s put him in front of the cameras.
“Sterling’s a naive, quiet 20-year-old. He’s gone about his business very well over the last two seasons. He’s not been on the back pages for anything negative.
“He’s been swayed by his agent, who’s probably told him there are a few clubs interested. He’s saying, ‘I can get you this or that’ and ‘you deserve this or that’.
“The lad should concentrate on his football at the moment. He’s playing week in week out at Liverpool and is adored by the fans.
“If I was to give him any advice it would be to stay where you are for a couple of seasons and learn your trade under Brendan Rodgers. There’s a good young team there at Liverpool."
McAteer: Sterling would struggle at a top club
Hinting that Sterling would struggle to make the starting line-ups of those clubs interested in securing his services, McAteer added: “If he went to Chelsea, Man City, Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich he’s not going to get in the team. He’s simply not going to play.
“For his development, at his age, he needs to play. He’d get that at Liverpool. The money will come to you at 23 or 24.
“You’re going to be on £150-200,000-a-week if you continue to develop the way you are. I’d sit on it, take what Liverpool are offering and develop there.”
Chelsea move makes sense for Sterling
While it's fair to say Sterling would struggle to break into the first teams of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich - who all possesses a wealth of attacking options - the England international might stand a better chance of establishing himself at either Manchester City or Chelsea.
Would, for example, Jose Mourinho select Sterling over Willian or Juan Cuadrado? It's not beyond the realms of possibility.
And would Manuel Pellegrini rather have Sterling or Jesus Navas, who often flatters to deceive, at his disposal?
It's important to remember just how good Sterling is now - and how good he could become in the future. This is a player with the potential to become one of Europe's best wingers.
Sterling has hit double figures for goals for the second successive season and deservedly picked up the 2014 Golden Boy Award following a remarkable campaign which saw the Reds narrowly miss out on the Premier League title.
Previous winners of that particular accolade include Paul Pogba, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi - hence why Liverpool value Sterling to be worth an astronomical £50 million.
Sterling, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Arsenal, insists he is not motivated by money and that he wants to be part of a successful team, playing alongside great players and competing for major honours.
A move to Chelsea would tick all the boxes for the former QPR starlet, but everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club in some way appears determined to convince the youngster to stay put at Anfield.
Sterling may feel like he is being backed into a corner - and if that's the case it could make him even more determined to consider his options at the end of the season.
Would Raheem Sterling get into Chelsea's starting line-up? Have your say in the comments below!
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