Brendan Rodgers insists Raheem Sterling will not leave Liverpool this summer, and has urged the player to realise his ambitions at Liverpool.
The 20-year-old has emerged as one of the best talents in European football, and has been the subject of press speculation linking him with Real Madrid, Manchester City and, most notably, Arsenal. And as the former Queens Park Rangers trainee is at loggerheads over a new contract, it has been suggested that he may leave Merseyside at the end of the season.
Sterling gave an unauthorised interview earlier this week in which he confirmed he had rejected a new deal, believed to be in the region of £100,000, but insisted he was only concerned with winning trophies and not boosting his bank balance. And now Rodgers has challenged the England international to prove this by realising his ambition with the Reds.
“Raheem has two and a half years left on his deal and he’s not going anywhere in the summer,” he said. “He’s quite relaxed, as I am, and he just wants to focus on the rest of the season. Concentration should be on continuing his development. He’s made great strides over the last couple of years and his only concentration should be the remaining games.
“If his ambition is to win trophies, that’s perfectly aligned with what we are trying to do here. This is Liverpool and it’s an honour to him to play for these great supporters and he understands that. He’s not going anywhere in the summer. Liverpool are one of the superpowers and the owners have made it clear that money doesn’t come in to it.
“If the club don’t want to sell they don’t have to. It’s as simple as that. Money has never been the objective here. If any player ever left here, whether it be Raheem or anyone else, it would always be on the terms of the football club. But that’s a long way off – for us it’s about continuing the nurturing and development of a young player who’s made huge strides.”
Sterling missed England’s friendly draw with Italy in Turin on Tuesday night with a toe injury, but he is in contention to play for Liverpool in their crucial trip to Arsenal on Saturday. Arsene Wenger’s side have been widely tipped to make a bid for the forward, possibly including Theo Walcott in the deal, but the Frenchman won’t be drawn on the rumours.
“Raheem Sterling is a top player, everybody in the country knows that now,” said Wenger ahead of the crunch fixture. “He is a very important player for Liverpool. I do not want to speak about any move. We are not in a transfer period, we are in front of a big game. I respect Liverpool and I do not want to go into any supposed move for any of their players.”