Liverpool chasing Cheryshev from Real Madrid to replace Sterling?
Liverpool (5/2 with Coral for a top four finish in 2015/16) are reportedly readying a move for Real Madrid’s Russian wingman Denis Cheryshev, as Brendan Rodgers looks to prepare for the potential exit of wantaway contract rebel Raheem Sterling.
The 24-year-old Los Blancos attacker has spent the last two seasons of his development on loan, with Sevilla and then Villarreal, who Cheryshev struck seven times for across all competitions this term.
It is unlikely that the Real Castilla product, who began his youth career with Sporting Gijon, will find space amid Madrid’s raft of attacking superstars, so the youngster could follow the path of fellow former Madrid graduates Samuel Eto’o and Juan Mata by carving a career elsewhere.
At 24, with a successful stint at the Yellow Submarine under his belt, the time looks right for a summer switch while wide schemer Cheryshev’s stock is high, with rumours suggesting he could command a fee of up to £14.5m.
Would the left-footed wide threat fit in on the red half of Merseyside, however? and could he replicate Golden Boy Sterling’s contribution?
Somewhat of a late bloomer, seven-capped Cheryshev still struggles with consistency, but beats Sterling for assists this season, with 11 to the English attacker’s eight.
Cheryshev, has not, however, carried the main attacking burden for Villarreal this term, unlike Sterling, whose form has suffered after being shoehorned into numerous positions.
A direct and pacy dribbler, the rampant Russian certainly shares traits with the Reds’ current attacking midfield star, but may not be ready to step into his shoes.
With academy prodigy Jordon Ibe already on the Anfield books, plus Lazar Markovic, who still has potential following a stuttering season, Liverpool have the right flank sewn-up. However, adding a natural left-footer would bring balance to the ranks.
The recent reiteration of Rodgers’ interest in Real’s Russian also arrives somewhat suspiciously in the wake of new Los Blancos, and ex-Reds, boss Rafa Benitez’s comments on the Sterling situation.
During his Bernabeau unveiling, Benitez told media: “We admire Raheem, that’s no secret – but he is not one of our players so I can’t really comment on him.”
With Liverpool (10/1 to win the 2015/16 FA Cup) widely expected to avoid selling to a Premier League rival, with bitter Northwest foes Manchester United the latest to be rumoured to have bid for unsettled Sterling, Spanish giants Real’s apparent interest could come as a blessing.
If target Cheryshev could be used as a bargaining chip, the Madrid men would surely have a huge advantage should the Anfield outfit be ready to offload their star player this summer.