At just 17 years of age (birthday tomorrow), Raheem Sterling has set the footballing world on fire, already gaining regular first team action at Liverpool. The winger's pace, combined with fancy footwork and an eye for the goal, has seen him already gain an England cap.
Whilst it is clear Brendan Rodgers is looking at Sterling as a means by which Liverpool can look to the future, troubles re-negotiating a contract with the youngster could potentially see him leave the club by the end of the season—and there is no shortage of clubs lining up for the services of Sterling.
Last week, the Daily Mirror reported that league leader Manchester United was on the hunt to bring Sterling to Old Trafford. The characteristics of the Liverpool man aren't dissimilar from those of United winger Nani. Seeing as though Nani has fallen down Sir Alex Ferguson's pecking order—injury hasn't helped—Sterling could effectively prove a replacement for the Portuguese wide-man.
In conjunction with this article, Goal.com reports that Sterling has actually rejected Liverpool's initial contract extension offer, essentially throwing down the gauntlet for the Reds to offer something bigger. The report further suggests that Manchester United has made contact with Liverpool enquiring about the prospect of signing him in January or by the end of the season.
Whilst the Daily Mirror's article also suggested the possibility of Chelsea and Manchester City coming into the hunt for the services of Sterling. The Liverpool winger needs to be guaranteed playing time wherever he goes; Chelsea and Manchester City wouldn't be able to readily offer that.
So then the question needs to be asked. If Sterling is set on guaranteeing himself playing time, and at Liverpool he is a regular first team starter, then why has he refused initial contract offers at the club? Could United have a potentially more attractive offer in place...or is this just a case of "show me the money"?
If Raheem Sterling was to make a move to United, he would link up with England players such as Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones; all of which have been touted as leading England through the next two FIFA World Cups.
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