Liverpool have reportedly rejected several loan moves for young winger Raheem Sterling, and with Brendan Rodgers' squad looking to build for the future, it's definitely the right move to have made.
The Daily Mirror reports that Championship sides Leeds, Cardiff and Bolton were all keen to take on the 18-year-old for next season, but the Merseyside club have rejected that interest—deeming Sterling a valuable asset to their squad for the year ahead.
However, as the media outlet reported afterwards, Sterling could well find himself featuring more in the Youth Cup and England Under-21s than the big-time.
“I’ve had a number of calls from teams looking to take him on loan, but our squad is thin enough as it is, and he won’t be doing that.
“We just have to ensure as a club we don’t make any mistakes with his development. It is about nurturing the young players and making sure they don’t have too many miles on the clock too early. This is a kid who he has just turned 18 and done brilliantly for the first team, and I don’t know a player within that age who is playing regularly at this level."
Sterling has netted two goals and two assists for the Reds this season and has been invaluable to the club—especially earlier in the year after the summer transfer window. Andy Carroll had departed and Fabio Borini went out injured—leaving Rodgers with a fresh-faced youngster out on the left wing, who quickly impressed with his mazy dribbling and combination with Luis Suarez.
Now, however, the need for Sterling's involvement is not as high, with Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge both arriving over the winter transfer window.
Their addition—along with Suarez's consistency—has meant there is no permanent starting spot available for Sterling. Given the age of the players brought in, it seems that a permanent spot isn't going to be opening up any time soon—hence the loan interest from other clubs.
Yet the reality is that, like we saw earlier in the year, Sterling is a prestigious talent who can fit into any attack—regardless of the situation.
He came in beautifully when things were looking very bleak for Liverpool and showed he has a bright future at Anfield. Just because there isn't a spot on the left wing for him right now doesn't mean that he cannot be incredibly useful for them throughout the next few years.
If Sterling continues his development with the Reds, he has the chance to become a genuine star in world football. Rodgers knows this and subsequently wants to watch and be involved with the teenager's development to ensure that he becomes as good as he can be.
Few teenagers simply turn up and thrive in the Premier League; even fewer have the potential ahead of them like Sterling. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney immediately spring to mind; Romelu Lukaku and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shortly after that.
Should Sterling continue his development at Anfield under Rodgers with that trio of attackers to mould himself off, he could well be touted in the same company as the players mentioned before—if not greater than them all when he finishes being a teenager.
After all, that date is still two years away, and given what Sterling has achieved so far in his career, it doesn't seem at all an unreasonable suggestion.
Do you think Raheem Sterling can become a future Liverpool star?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre