Selling Sterling will be smartest piece of business Liverpool could conduct
Manchester City are thought to be readying a third bid for Raheem Sterling, in the region of £50m and Liverpool, 5/2 with Coral to finish in Premier League top four next term, should snap their hands off.
Owners Fenway Sports Group, who is headed by John Henry, haven’t accumulated wealth in their billions by not being smart at business and although they don’t need to sell Sterling, as an investment company, they will know that this deal would represent good value and not just from a monetary standpoint.
With the player out of the club, they will potentially be letting go of a ticking time bomb, with Sterling’s character called into question on more than one occasion last season.
Although it is unclear how much of the transfer activity so far has been down to manager Brendan Rodgers after the majority of last summer’s recruits failed to live up to their potential, there is no doubt that so far, the club have carried out some shrewd business in the transfer window.
James Milner and Danny Ings have both arrived on free transfers this summer, while the £3.5m signing of 18-year-old defender Joe Gomez from Charlton shows promising indicators that the Reds are also looking to the next generation to follow in the footsteps of what is already a young core.
There are now reports that the club have a number of deals in the pipeline, all of whom fit the Reds recent change in philosophy of signing young, dynamic personnel.
Inter Milan’s Mateo Kovacic is understood to be a prime candidate though both clubs are still in negotiations over the fee with the Serie A side looking for in the region of £18m, while Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi is likely to make a move to Anfield for a £16m fee.
Also thought to be on the list is Hoffenheim’s Brazilian sensation Roberto Firmino, with the Reds showing real intent to secure his signature. He would be the most natural replacement for Sterling and evidence so far indicate that he is a far better player.
Liverpool are also close to a deal for Southampton right back Nathaniel Clyne, who is believed to have turned down Manchester United, in favour of a move to Anfield. He is the perfect replacement for the departed Glen Johnson and can slot straight in at right back.
In attack, the Reds were thought to be keen on Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, though have been deterred by the Belgian’s release clause which is in excess of £30m.
While Sevilla’s Carlos Bacca is an unrealistic alternative with the Colombian apparently wanting to stay with the Spanish side, their next port of call could be more successful. Zenit St Petersburg striker Jose Rondon, who is currently lighting up the Copa America with Venezuela could turn out to be a great signing.
At 25, he is the perfect age and has all the raw qualities to succeed in the Premier League, including desire, a trait that Rodgers values.
Reports elsewhere suggest Liverpool have the all-clear to snap-up breakthrough Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette, 24, though with the player valued at £35m and only one, albeit sensational goal-scoring season behind him, the jury is out on whether he would be value for money.
Areas that cannot be ignored however, are at centre back and goalkeeper. Simon Mignolet simply has too many errors in him, and now would be the time to push for a top stopper such as Villarreal’s Sergio Asenjo.
There have been concerns over whether Liverpool can spend big and how much resources they have available to them, however with Financial Fair Play regulations slackening slightly, the Reds have an almost bottom-less pit with FSG as their backers and they will spend if necessary to take the club to the next level.
As for Sterling, any lucrative sale for him can be considered deserved dividend for troubles past.