Over recent weeks, many reports have speculated about the future of Liverpool and England winger Raheem Sterling.
Over the last couple of years Sterling has gradually gone from a youngster with potential to a Liverpool regular. Culminating last season, when Sterling made huge steps for both club and country.
Nevertheless, he is still one of Liverpool’s lowest earners. Sterling currently earns around £30,000 a week and his contract does not expire until 2017. Due to Sterling’s magnificent start to the season, Liverpool are eager to reward the young star and fend off any interest from abroad. Early reports have suggested that Sterling has demanded four times his current wage, however exact figures are unknown at this stage.
Despite his form, there have been a number of reports claiming that talks between his representatives and the clubs are at a stalemate, and Spanish giants Real Madrid are thought to be monitoring the situation closely. Although, in my opinion, a move to the Spanish capital would be a bad one for the youngster for a number of reasons.
Sterling would definitely struggle to earn a place in a Real Madrid starting eleven that contains an array of attacking talent. If he were to make the move, he would have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to compete with for a position out wide – something any player would struggle with. The lack of game time would definitely affect his development as a young player and, ultimately, would result in him failing to reach the level that is expected of him.
Playing for Real Madrid comes with immense pressure, knowing you have to win every game. Not only win, but win comfortably and play great football at the same time. If Sterling was unable to keep up with the performance levels required, he would be yet another player who failed at Madrid; something that has affected many players career’s in the past.
Not only would the lack of game time affect his personal development, but he would definitely suffer on the International stage too. The lack of playing time would push him down the pecking order on English boss Roy Hodgson’s list. This would not only be disappointing for Sterling, but for England as well, following the great start he has had in an England shirt so far.
The financial dominance of La Liga’s top two teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, has left many feeling that the competition has become a two horse race. The Premier League, however, can offer competitive football week in week out. This will keep Sterling focused and level-headed, rather than moving to a Madrid side where he is likely to win by four or five goals in each game. A prolonged stay in England should see him keep his hunger and motivation to continue improving.
Why he should stay at Liverpool?
With Liverpool in a phase of transition after bringing in several new players over the summer, Sterling has the chance to become a vital part of Liverpool’s attacking line, as well as a vital part of the team as a whole. His development as a player would benefit greatly, playing much more under a manager who has managed him so well in recent years. This will also be hugely beneficial to his international career, as it will allow him to remain on Hodgson’s radar.
Overall I believe it would be best for Sterling to put the situation surrounding his contract to one side for the time being and focus on his development. He has the chance to develop into a Liverpool and England legend, but only if he stays put.