The question: Should Manchester City give in to Liverpool’s demands and pay £50m for Raheem Sterling?
Debating the point are two Typical City writers. They come in the shape of Richard Burns and David Mooney.
YES – Richard Burns
There’s no getting away from it, £50m is a hell of a lot of pounds. 50 million of them, to be precise. Although I’m here arguing ‘yes’, I can’t deny that I think in any normal market, even I think that that is over the odds. £50m for a 20 year old is unprecedented and I can see why to some, it seems crazy.
The thing is, the business of football transfers is not ‘normal’ in any way. Transfer fees and players wages have warped beyond comprehension. I remember how delirious I was when City splashed £5m on Jon Macken, a then-record transfer. Now we’re dealing with ten times that amount and the numbers barely seem to matter anymore and a £5m signing would barely be noticed.
The key thing for me is that there is a difference between ‘price’ and ‘value’. While the figure that we’re talking about here is clearly astronomical, the real question is ‘What value is there in signing Raheem Sterling?’. The answer will be different for each potential suitor. For City, I believe that value is almost unquantifiable.
A big problem for the Blues last season was that they lacked real pace, directness and urgency when they went forward. Conveniently, it just so happens that pace, directness and urgency are basically Sterling’s unique selling points. It’s like somebody built him to fix City’s problems.
His rise to prominence really started when he formed part of a lethal trio with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. The three were so good that they nearly carried Liverpool to the 2013-14 Premier League title. You can’t understate Sterling’s role in that and it is no coincidence that he found it more difficult to influence games in 2014-15 when he was without his two accomplices. If he can form deadly alliances with players of that quality, then he can do it with Sergio Agüero, David Silva, Yaya Toure and other players in City’s team.
His age can be seen as a positive and a negative in this saga but I’m here for the positives, so here we go. At 20 years old, he’s already made 12 international appearances. He’s played 91 times for Liverpool, including a brief spell in the Champions League. For a man of his age, he is phenomenally experienced and well accustomed to big-club pressures, as well as expectant fanbases. Unquestionably, he has shown an incredible talent and he needs the right environment to hone it. A move to City would put him amongst some truly world-class footballers – what could possibly be better for his development than that? For one so young, he clearly has a fierce ambition and belief in his ability – City would allow that to blossom rather than stifle it.
Finally, it’s a move that would show City’s intent to put right the wrongs of recent windows. Last summer they signed Willy Cabellero, Bacary Sagna and Fernando; uninspiring signings that would barely have been noticed by rival clubs. Opening this transfer window by blowing rivals out of the water for one of Europe’s most wanted players would send shockwaves through the transfer market and you can guarantee that the likes of Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne would be taking notice. At 20 years old, Sterling would represent an investment that could pay high dividends for the next decade or more. City are right to negotiate hard but to me, the transfer is a no-brainer.
NO – David Mooney
There can be little doubt that Raheem Sterling is a good player. Though there in lies the problem when it comes to the prospective transfer; he’s a good player, not a great one, and a lot of what City would be investing in is his future potential. The forward is far from the finished article, but still ‘demands’ a price that far eclipses the fees spent on the likes of Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure or David Silva just a few years ago.
Sterling would be moving to City as a player that would inject some much-needed pace and directness to the Blues’ attacks, but he’d be a player that you’d not expect to play week-in, week-out. That’s not to say he’d join the likes of Scott Sinclair and Adam Johnson, who spent most of their careers at the club on the bench, but he’d be much more regularly rotated in Manchester than in Liverpool.
For that price, Manuel Pellegrini may prefer someone in the squad who would guarantee results, rather than the raw element City would be getting with Sterling right now.
On top of that, the player wants to leave the club. He’s made his wishes perfectly clear, so it would seem bizarre for Liverpool to shunt the price up in an effort to warn off potential buyers. After all, what good is a want-away player, losing value for every transfer window that he doesn’t move?
I’m all for clubs getting a fair amount of money for their assets and I’m aware of the history of City needing to pay something of a premium since the money arrived, but there’s overpaying slightly and then there’s downright cheeky. The current asking price surely presents too much of a risk?
The Liverpool forward is easily one of the brightest prospects in the league and could be a future star for both his club and his country. However, £50m is a hell of a lot of money to pay for potential that may or may not be fulfilled and for a player that actively wants to leave his current club. Sterling would be a great acquisition, but he can’t be the marquee signing of the summer and if Liverpool won’t negotiate, then City need to play hardball.
What do you think? Would City be justified in meeting Liverpool’s £50m valuation of Raheem Sterling?