Sterling has been offered a £100,000-a-week deal to stay on Merseyside and revealed in a BBC interview yesterday that he would have signed for a lot less a year ago.
In an in-depth TV discussion that Liverpool knew nothing about until shortly before it was aired, the 21-year-old admitted that it was ‘quite flattering’ to be linked with Arsenal — who Liverpool face on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League — and that he used to dream of playing abroad.
Sterling’s contract expires in two years and Liverpool are infuriated by his decision to give the interview without even telling them. Some members of the club’s hierarchy are convinced that the England international and his representatives are simply preparing the way for a move this summer.
‘It’s not about the money at all,’ said Sterling. ‘It’s never been about money. I talk about winning trophies throughout my career. That’s all I talk about. I
don’t talk about how many cars I’m going to drive, how many houses I’ve got. I just purely want to be the best I can be.
‘I don’t want to be perceived as a money-grabbing 20-year-old. I try to kill it off, but I don’t think the public can see it that way. I think they just see it as this 20-year-old boy being greedy.
‘I just want to take the time to think about what I’ve achieved in my career so far, where I need to go and what I need to do to get better as a player. Everyone’s dream growing up is seeing themselves in an away kit somewhere in a sunny country. But, in reality, I’m happy to be playing for Liverpool and trying to win trophies.
‘If, at that point in time (last season), I was offered a contract, I most definitely would have signed straight away, probably for far less money than being said now. I just think the timing was a bit off.’
Sterling’s stand-off with Liverpool has been a theme of the club’s season. Liverpool fans will be desperate for him to stay but it would now appear that the gap between player and club is widening.
Manager Brendan Rodgers is aware of Sterling’s comments and will address them as part of his weekly press conference today.
It is understood that he will not allow the issue to cloud his judgment ahead of his selection for Saturday and that Sterling will play at the Emirates if fit.
Equally, however, Liverpool’s American owners will not allow themselves to be bullied and are prepared to stand firm — just as they did with Luis Suarez in 2013 —unless they receive an astronomical offer for a player they value at more than £50million.
Liverpool are not prepared to sell to a Premier League rival — Manchester City are also interested — unless the numbers are huge.
Patience with Sterling and his representatives is shortening, however. Rodgers feels Sterling’s management team are driving the issue but is also known to believe players should take control of their own destiny, however young. – Daily Mail
Original source: Sterling interview catches Reds off guard