It’s not as if we’re unaccustomed to stories about once-beloved players returning to Liverpool, and Raheem Sterling is the latest addition to the Philippe Coutinho and Luis Súarez transfer rumor mill.
The Daily Mail reported this week that both Sterling and teammate Riyad Mahrez are on Pep Guardiola’s “for sale list” even before the Champions League final loss caused many to predict a reshuffle in the City squad.
Harry Kane and £100-million-rated Jack Grealish are rumored to be City’s target signings, and an increase in player sales are expected to raise funds for these and other incoming players.
While Mahrez has had a promising season, Sterling has seen his starting lineup appearances trend downward over the past season and a half — and though Sterling was arguably the brightest attacking performance in an underwhelming Champions League final showing, he nonetheless failed to make any serious mark on the game.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have long been linked with Sterling, the (arguable) romance of a return nonetheless has made Liverpool a rumored link as well.
Though Sterling is a great player, he does not fit the profile for a Liverpool signing at present, as the Reds look toward succession planning rather than immediate strengthening.
Raheem Sterling will turn 27 this year, which puts him a bit beyond the age targeted by Liverpool’s transfer committee, though by no means outside the realm off possibility.
Even as Manchester City look to “cash in” on Sterling, it’s hard not to feel like his star has begun to wane. While there may be “romantic” links to Liverpool, it seems unlikely that the club would pay the “English player” tax to secure Sterling’s return to Anfield.