Raheem Sterling opts out of Liverpool pre-season tour as he tries to push move to Man City
Wantaway star refusing to take part in Liverpool pre-season trip
Raheem Sterling has told Liverpool he does not want to join their pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia as he tries to push through his move to Manchester City.
With City preparing a third bid for the England winger, Sterling returned to Liverpool training on Monday in a mood of agitation as he demands to quit Anfield.
The sense of rebellion in the player has been increasing since the middle of last season when talks on a new £100,000-a-week contract ended, but they have now taken another dark turn.
Sterling, 20, is believed to have held a meeting with Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool's manager, after his first pre-season training session to express unwillingness to travel to Bangkok this Sunday. Liverpool then fly to Australia and Malaysia as part of a two-week tour.
Liverpool are faced with a mutinous player, Rodgers having to deal with someone who is effectively asking to boycott key pre-season preparations in order to satisfy his transfer demands.
Sterling's relationship with the club has utterly broken down but there will be no resolution unless a £50million bid materialises. Liverpool expect the winger to join their travelling party.
City have been rebuffed with earlier offers that not only fell short of Liverpool's valuation but included add-ons to the value of £5million that were unacceptable. Manuel Pellegrini hopes to secure Sterling in time to join his own club's tour of Australia, with a fresh approach expected within days.
The Anfield hierarchy are adamant that they will keep Sterling on his £35,000-a-week contract for the next two years if their price is not met.
While City's confidence they can sign Sterling increases, they are ready to abandon their pursuit of Paul Pogba due to the £100million-plus package to sign the Juventus midfielder. Pogba, 22, had been identified by Pellegrini and director of football Txiki Begiristain as the long-term successor to Yaya Toure. But with Juventus demanding a €100million (£71m) fee for Pogba, senior figures at the Etihad Stadium are now set to end their interest in the former Manchester United player due to his demands for a £12million-a-year salary.
Juventus are determined to retain Pogba's services for at least one more season. Begiristain could yet restart moves for Pogba if the player or Juventus lower their financial demands.
City are also ready to press ahead with attempts to complete the signing of Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg and an £8m deal for Aston Villa's Fabian Delph (© Daily Telegraph, London)