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19th May 2015

Where does Raheem Sterling’s future lie?

Raheem Stalling...

Nooruddean Choudry

As Raheem Sterling’s relationship with Liverpool becomes increasingly strained, we look at where he could end up and assess the merits of each potential move…

Real Madrid

The only La Liga clubs who could both afford Sterling’s wage demands and be seen as a step up from Liverpool are clearly Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Catalan side remain banned from signing new players which leaves Real as Sterling’s only realistic Spanish destination.

As exciting a talent as the 20-year-old is, there have to be serious doubts as to whether he’s ready for a move to the Bernabeu. A far more developed player in Gareth Bale has struggled to win over the fans and it would be folly for Sterling to assume he could succeed where the Welshman has failed.

Manchester United

The very thought would have seemed impossible not long ago, but the last decade or so has seen more and more players make the move between fierce rivals. The Premier League era has seen Sol Campbell, Paul Ince, Alan Smith, Michael Owen, Carlos Tevez and Robin van Persie cross enemy lines.

That said, it’s been over half a century since Liverpool and United last did any direct business and a deal remains highly unlikely. In terms of pure football logic, Louis van Gaal is very particular about how players carry out his instructions and so Sterling would lose some of the freedom he currently enjoys.


There’s already a glut of talented wingers at Stamford Bridge, but that’s never stopped Jose Mourinho from adding one or two new faces to his squad whilst selling on the previous year’s buys for a profit. It would also make a nice change to buy directly from Liverpool rather than hoovering up their targets.

Sterling would certainly fit Jose’s preference for strong, hard-working forwards who defend from the front, but the player may not find Chelsea to be the ideal place for his long-term development. The club remains a hub of constant flux and Sterling could easily become last year’s model very quickly.

Manchester City

City will be keen to add English players to their playing staff, especially if James Milner decides to make the reverse move to Anfield. They have homegrown rules to consider and Sterling would certainly give their sometimes overly deliberate forward line some much needed impetus and pace.

Again, a major consideration for the player would be a settled environment in which to hone his talents. The hot seat at the Etihad is constantly warming new backsides and with each new face comes a different project. There is no guarantee that the next coach would be a fan.


Of all the potential moves for Sterling, a transfer to Arsenal probably makes the most sense in terms of environment, stability, style of play and manager. Arsene Wenger is a wonderful coach for any attacking player and he would give the youngster a suitable stage to flourish.

Sterling may, however, choose to reference Theo Walcott and how the former Southampton man’s career hasn’t quite panned out as hoped. A big part of that is due to injury, but Walcott has never been more than a fleeting key man at the Emirates during his nine years at the club.


The final option is of course to stay at Liverpool. The Anfield club remains one of the most popular sporting entities in world sport, and success there would inevitably earn the player a fortune in the game in one way or another. It’s easy to forget the player is barely past his teens.

Under Brendan Rodgers, Sterling has gone from a waifish impact player to European Golden Boy winner. His current mentor is committed to high-tempo attacking football and that suits Sterling down to the ground. So why risk all that for short-term financial gain?