While most of the clubs in the Premier League are still caught up in what was supposed to be the final week of the season, it’s clear Liverpool have already embarked upon another unhinged summer, as the club descend into uncertainty and drama and all kinds of general chaos. It may not be fun if you’re a fan of the club, but you can’t deny all involved are doing their level best to ratchet up the entertainment.
The latest in the Liverpool offseason circus comes from Raheem Sterling’s agent and part time Kop piñata Aidy Ward, who in an interview with the London Evening Standard—an interview he has since claimed misquoted him despite that there seems very little room for mis-quotes when one goes on record to call Jamie Carragher "a knob"—went out of his way to burn the bridges and salt the earth as he continues to attempt to orchestrate a move for his client.
"I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation," Ward told the Evening Standard today, in a move that seems likely to only damage his own standing and his client’s situation. "I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week. He is not signing. My job is to make sure I do the best with [my clients]. If people say I am bad at my job or that they are badly advised it does not matter."
The problem for Ward is that his client still has two years left on a £35k a week deal and that thanks to training compensation, Liverpool are under far less pressure to sell than they would be with a more senior player. He also seems to have missed that his client’s value has dropped ever since Ward encouraged Sterling to speak to the press and Sterling’s form on the pitch fell off. His latest antics will only further damage Sterling’s value.
At least in the short term—with Aidy Ward his agent—this interview will only make Sterling appear toxic to the sorts of clubs he seems determined to join. Sterling is one of the most promising young talents in football, but he isn’t world class just yet. He may, despite his clear skill, never become that. And with the headaches he and his agent are now causing, it seems increasingly unlikely a big club will offer enough to convince Liverpool to sell.
"Carragher is a knob," adds Ward—a quote from the Evening Standard he has since claimed misrepresents his true statements. "Everybody knows it. Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players—none of those things matter to me. It is not relevant. I am not worried. Worried is making a decision not knowing what is going to happen. Every Premier League club will make a bid for him."
Maybe. Or maybe every Premier League club is starting to think that for the kind of fee it would take to get him, Sterling simply isn’t worth the headaches he and his agent would bring. Then, when those offers don’t come and every bridge at Liverpool has been burnt, Ward’s client will get to enjoy two years training with the reserves, making a quarter of what he might otherwise be able to and seeing his superstar potential rot away.