Brendan Rodgers confirms Raheem Sterling move, plays down rift
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed Monday his team plans to sell Raheem Sterling to a rival club as he played down reports of an acrimonious rift over the restless England forward.
London: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed Monday his team plans to sell Raheem Sterling to a rival club as he played down reports of an acrimonious rift over the restless England forward.
British media say Sterling will go to Manchester City in a deal worth over the £49 million ($76 million, 68 million euro) -- a record breaking figure for a transfer within the English Premier League.
Speaking in Bangkok where Liverpool have begun a pre-season overseas tour, the Northern Irish manager confirmed Sterling would leave, subject to passing medical tests.
But he declined to confirm where the 20-year-old was going or how much for.
"The club has agreed with another club a deal for him to be transferred. Subject to a medical that will go through," Rodgers said.
"Contrary to probably the last week or so in terms of what was written, Raheem and I have always remained very strong in our relationship and have been right up until we left. So there`s no issue there," he added.
His comments confirm the closing stages of what has become this summer`s most acrimonious transfer.
Sterling`s refusal to commit to Liverpool has angered the club`s supporters, who jeered him at an end-of-season awards dinner.
Rodgers`s relationship with Sterling cooled considerably when the player turned down a lucrative new contract worth £100,000 per week in January this year.
In February, Rodgers said Sterling had been offered an "incredible deal".
But two months later, Sterling`s relationship with the Liverpool hierarchy became even more strained when, in an interview with the BBC given without the club`s approval, he confirmed he had rejected the Reds` latest contract offer.
Sterling`s agent, Aidy Ward, then added to the growing rift by saying his client would not sign a new deal with Liverpool even for "£900,000 a week".
Amid the row over whether he would or should sign a new Liverpool deal, Sterling was involved in controversy after photographs emerged of him appearing to puff on a shisha pipe, and then allegedly inhaling laughing gas, were published.
But it is the contract dispute and Sterling`s recent absence from training which have angered Liverpool fans above all else.
Despite being named in the 30-man squad for the pre-season tour, Sterling was left behind by Liverpool when the club flew out to Thailand where his teammates will play the Thai All Stars on Tuesday night before moving on to Malaysia and Australia.
Players were greeted with traditional flower garlands on arrival at the luxury hotel in downtown Bangkok as fans in the football obsessed country jostled for a glimpse of their favourite players.
Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR`s academy in 2010 and has since scored 23 goals in 129 senior appearances for the club.
He made his senior England debut in 2012, scoring one goal in 16 appearances.
Liverpool finished sixth in the Premier League last season and so missed out on the Champions League, whereas runners-up City have qualified for European football`s elite club competition.