In my opinion Raheem Sterling and his agent, should find it very difficult to look at themselves in the mirror tomorrow morning. However in truth his agent for one will be waking up with a huge smile on his face after holding Liverpool to ransom and orchestrating a huge over-inflated fee to be paid for his client.
Sterling should be ashamed of the way he has treated Liverpool, the club's fans and the Premier League in general. I am a Manchester United fan and draw similarities with the saga involving Wayne Rooney a few years ago. Again, poor judgement from his advisors and a lack of respect for the club and the fans led to contractual negotiations being played out in the public eye. It was neither good for Wayne or for Manchester United, and Sterling has now done exactly the same thing.
However, there are significant differences between this situation and Wayne Rooney's.
Unlike Sterling, Rooney has actually delivered for the club and for the fans and contributed on the pitch. He has, since his arrival, been a brilliant player. He has single handedly helped the club win matches when it really mattered, and he has performed on the biggest stage in the biggest games to help the team win trophies.
Sir Alex Ferguson used Rooney in numerous positions over the time he has been at the club, and until the very end of Fergie's time in charge Rooney got on with it without moaning and creating a fuss.
Yes at the end their relationship was fractured, but whether you believe rightly or wrongly a player should disagree with his manager, Rooney had possibly actually earned the chance to be vocal about his thoughts, even though he definitely didn't do it in the right way.
And more importantly in the end Rooney also elected to stay, and his loyalty has been repaid by the club and the fans. He has gone on to be captain, and is in line to become the club's all-time top goalscorer, overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton and placing himself truly amongst the Manchester United legends of the past. When he retires he will be seen as a legend and his contractual dispute will be long forgotten because of his performances on the pitch.
Raheem Sterling has not delivered on the pitch in a way to justify his attitude and his treatment of Liverpool, and as a young footballer and supposed role model for others he has potentially done irreparable damage to his future reputation.
What happens if things don't go to plan at Manchester City, because there is absolutely no guarantee that he is going to be a success or start every game? He is now one of many talented players, rather than the club's potential superstar, as he was at Liverpool. And for the rest of his career he will be hated by Liverpool fans for the disrespect he has shown the club.
And let's look at the future; what if he is sitting on the bench while struggling to break into a side with a host of talented players? What if, as happens at Manchester City, a new manager comes along who doesn't seem him as part of his plans? And to be honest Manchester City haven't exactly got the best out of the young English talent they have had over the last 10 years.
What does he do then, cry to his agent and let him orchestrate another media-driven transfer?
Good of the game
It is true that there is so much more to think about now for modern footballers that just playing football, the huge amounts of money in football brings so many other considerations. But surely agents who look after young players involved in the game should have to have a higher set of principles to be allowed to work with these potentially naive young men?
Because if something isn't done, then the state of football moving forward is not one to look forward too, with clubs being held to ransom every time a young player decides he is bored or fed up with the way things are and wants to break his contract.
Fortunately, there does seem to be some loyalty and respect left in the game. Another Manchester City target and England international in Fabian Delph, a hugely talented young player with massive potential, has turned down a move to stay as captain of Aston Villa. He no doubt turned down a huge pay increase, the chance of Champions League football and an opportunity to increase his stature and his personal brand in world football.
But in turning down the move, in my opinion he has done more for his own brand than moving to Manchester City. In truth he would most likely have been spending a huge amount of time sitting on the bench, as so many other young English prospects have done over the last few years.
The fact that players like Sterling want to act this disrespectfully to their managers, team-mates, fans and clubs is so sad and worrying for the future of football. But let us hope that more players see the example set by Fabian Delph as the correct way to conduct themselves, for the sake of the good of the game.
Has Raheem Sterling done irreparable damage to his reputation by joining Manchester City?
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