Monday 19 March 2018

Raheem Sterling lands £10m-a-year pay deal with Manchester City slickers

Liverpool youngster to leave Merseyside

Chris Bascombe

Raheem Sterling has become English football's £100m man after Liverpool finally agreed his transfer to Manchester City.

Sterling, 20, will move to City for £49m on a £200,000-a-week contract, earning him a £10.4m yearly salary.

The player is due to sign a five-year contract that will push up City's overall outlay to more than £100m.

The extraordinary deal - a record between two Premier League clubs for an English footballer - was struck between Liverpool and City after a day of negotiations yesterday.

The Merseyside club will receive an initial £44m, with a further £5m based on Sterling's appearance record for City.

Liverpool are confident they will eventually receive the figure in full - an amount just £1m short of the £50m price tag they had initially placed on the winger when it became clear how much he wanted to leave.

Read more: Manchester City agree deal for Liverpool's Raheem Sterling

Queens Park Rangers, Sterling's former club, are understood to be receiving around 20pc, or close to £10m, from their sell-on clause.

Sterling (right), who is expected to undergo a medical at City within the next 24 hours, will become the 12th most expensive footballer in the history of the game.

Liverpool will now shift their attention to making a move for Aston Villa target Christian Benteke, with a fresh bid anticipated for the Belgian striker in the coming days.

Sterling was scheduled to fly with Liverpool to Bangkok yesterday, ahead of a tour of Thailand, Australia and Malaysia.

However, just hours before check-in, and despite having joined his team-mates at Melwood for training, Liverpool told Sterling that he would not be travelling.

Sterling's departure ends a period of acrimony between the player and the club he leaves behind, although Liverpool were keen to stress throughout the process that their relationship with City is cordial.

There is a sense of bemusement at the agitating tactics employed by Sterling's representative, Aidy Ward, given that the size of the final bid would have been difficult for Liverpool to turn down, even if the player was not publicly seeking a move.

Liverpool are reluctant sellers, but there is also a degree of astonishment at the fee they have received for a player they signed as a 16-year-old in 2010.

For City, the signing of one of the most highly rated youngsters in Europe is a statement of intent ahead of the new season. Sterling's pay rise is amazing, given that he was on £35,000-a-week at Anfield.

He made it known in the middle of last season that he expected to be Liverpool's top earner before terminating all contract talks as it became apparent that the club would not qualify for the Champions League.

There was a breakdown in communication between Ward and the Liverpool hierarchy in May after an 'off the record' briefing by the agent, making it clear Sterling would never sign a new contract at Anfield, was made public.

Sterling returned to pre-season training last Monday to tell the club he had no wish to join the summer tour, and then irritated Liverpool further by missing two days of training, citing illness.

As tensions increased, the City board - understood to have been as uneasy about Ward's conduct as their Anfield peers - felt compelled to break the deadlock before Sterling boarded his flight.

Contact was made last Friday and negotiations over the weekend culminated in the final, formal offer of £49m.

Despite the fee, there will be some concern at Anfield at the number of top performers lost in recent years as a lack of Champions League football again costs them.

Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano all left, citing the same reasons, and a year ago the club was powerless when Barcelona met a £75m release clause for Luis Suarez. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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