Saturday 17 February 2018

Big spending Manchester City set sights on Ireland star James McCarthy

Raheem Sterling completed his move to City yesterday and (right) James McCarthy
Raheem Sterling completed his move to City yesterday and (right) James McCarthy
Sterling: City’s new signing

Chris Bascombe

Manchester City are understood to be considering a swoop for Ireland star James McCarthy, having wrapped up a £49m deal for Liverpool's Raheem Sterling.

City appear to be turning their attention to Everton man McCarthy after missing out on England star Fabian Delph, who opted to stay at Aston Villa.

However, Everton would strongly resist any effort to lure the McCarthy, who would be another hugely expensive acquisition should City succeed with a bid.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have resumed talks with Aston Villa over Christian Benteke but have been warned there will be no deal unless the Belgian striker's £32.5m buy-out clause is triggered.

Benteke remains Liverpool's primary striker target this summer and dialogue between the two clubs has reopened after the Reds sold Sterling.

Villa are adamant that they will not accept any offers below the figure written into the forward's contract, but Liverpool hold reservations about the valuation. That led to an impasse, though the Anfield club are widely expected to step up their pursuit of the 24-year-old in the next few days.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini is claiming he has recruited one of the world's most exciting talents in Sterling.

Read more: Video: Petr Cech pulls off stunning double-save in Arsenal training

Read more: Raheem Sterling: Six reasons why have Manchester City paid £49m for him?

The England forward has signed a five-year contract that will earn him more than £50m.

Whether an emerging talent should demand such a fee has been the subject of debate since the clubs concluded negotiations on Sunday, but Pellegrini is in no doubt about the player's potential.

"Raheem Sterling is one of the best attacking players in world football," said the Chilean, who has given the winger the No 7 jersey.

"I am very much looking forward to him joining our squad in Australia this week. He is a young player with outstanding ability."

Liverpool will initially be paid £44m, with potentially a further £5m in additional fees as Sterling's career progresses.

However, a significant portion of this, believed to be 20pc, is heading to Queens Park Rangers, who sold the player to Liverpool four years ago.

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