Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling reportedly may be able to buy out the last year of his contract with the Reds and lower his potential transfer fee for prospective suitors.
The 20-year-old England international has stalled in talks to renew his current contract, which expires in 2017, and reports have abounded that he may leave Anfield this summer, per Jason Burt in The Telegraph.
Sterling's value has been mooted as £50 million, but Rob Shepherd on MailOnline reports that the youngster could lower that value by buying out the final year of his contract, a legitimate move under Premier League regulations.
Such a move "would see the fee Liverpool could command for the forward dramatically reduce," per Shepherd.
By buying out the final year of his current £35,000-a-week contract for £1.7 million, Sterling could apparently reduce his transfer value by up to half, to £25 million.
This would make him a far more enticing target for the likes of Chelsea or Manchester City, as his £50 million valuation always seemed inflated for such a young player, who is still hugely inconsistent.
However, £25 million seems a reasonable price to pay for a player of Sterling's talent.
B/R UK's Stan Collymore believes Sterling should continue at Liverpool if he is to become a truly world-class player, and he will surely get more game time if he stays at Anfield over moving to a so-called "bigger" club in the summer:
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However, the lure of the Champions League—something of a pipe dream now for fifth-placed Liverpool—is surely very strong.
If he is indeed keen to move clubs in the summer so that he can play in Europe's top competition, buying out his contract would surely make him a more attractive potential purchase for the likes of City or Chelsea, and it may sway them to go in for him.
Carlos Bacca on Reds' Radar
Liverpool have struggled in front of goal this season, with the departure of Luis Suarez last summer having had a hugely negative impact—as replacements Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert have failed miserably.
Colombian Bacca is a world-class finisher and would all but guarantee goals at Liverpool, having had a stellar season, per Squawka:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Carlos Bacca has now scored 21 goals in 46 club appearances in all competitions this season. http://t.co/2bSo1zfH522015-4-16 20:40:20
He would certainly be a more reliable addition to the Reds squad than either Balotelli or Lambert have proven to be, and he would bring great quality to a position where Liverpool are now sorely lacking.
Osborn reports that the 28-year-old Bacca could be available for £18 million in the summer, but Tottenham are also interested in signing him up.
Rodgers would do well to pursue Bacca, as Liverpool need added firepower up front; their lack of goals this season is a key reason that they are likely to miss out on the Champions League next term.