There was a stir earlier this week when a comment from Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini was interpreted as a statement of intent from the club that they were going after young Liverpool star Raheem Sterling. With the English winger's contract talks not going well, everyone in the media is looking for a place for him to go this summer - despite the ridiculous assumption that entails - and City was at the top of everyone's list after Pellegrini's words.
The Chilean tactician said that if a club were to go after Sterling this summer, it would cost them "as much as £100 million" to get Liverpool to sell their prized asset. That kind of fee would make Sterling the most expensive transfer in history after Real Madrid spent £85 million two summers ago to convince Tottenham to give up Gareth Bale. Of course, such a fee would be little discouragement for a mega-rich club like Manchester City, and all the media assumed that Pellegrini's words meant that City would be going after Sterling.
Not so fast, says Pellegrini. "The other day I said a name and an amount of money, not that we want him or that we are going to pay that amount of money," City's manager said in his pre-match press conference this morning.
It's a fair reaction; the initial question Pellegrini was asked was about bringing in younger English players to help with home-grown player rules that City sometimes struggles with. His comment about Sterling was part of a larger point about those rules making good English players significantly more expensive than they would be otherwise, but of course it was taken wildly out of context for the sake of splashy headlines because what good is context anyways?
Still, don't expect these links to entirely go away. It's widely expected that Pellegrini will be replaced this summer, and if City want to make a splashy signing for their new manager, it wouldn't be shocking to see Sterling on their list of possibilities. Getting the young winger tied down to a long term contract needs to be a major priority for Liverpool this summer.