Stop watching that amazing Kolo Touré chant video celebrating his new contract and soberly deal with more rumours surrounding Raheem Sterling's future. Apparently, the contract rebel scamp isn't that important to the club according to end of season polls, as fans come to terms with his likely departure and consider how badly his form tailed off in the final few months of the season. While some supporters have engaged in some extreme forms of curious revisionism, Aidy Ward's client still has a few more years before he approaches a level where the impact of his departure is beyond doubt.
A number of clubs within and beyond the over-hyped borders of the English Premier League have been linked to the Golden Boy, but could the potential arrival of Rafa Benítez at Real Madrid instigate a surprise move to the Spanish giants? For those who claim that Real Madrid won't spend gargantuan sums on potential, take a look at Asier Illarramendi. Two years ago, Real Madrid met Illarramendi's buyout clause of €39 million (£34 million) for a 23-year-old defensive midfielder. Earlier that summer, a 21-year-old Isco was purchased for circa £10 million less than Real Sociedad's footballing successor to Xabi Alonso. If Real Madrid want a player, he invariably arrives in the capital hoping for success and opportunities at a notoriously fickle club.
A few issues will need to be sorted out before a move can take place. Rafa Benítez needs to step into the Real Madrid hot-seat, but the tactician has to deal with a Champions League qualification shoot-out with Lazio first which takes place this weekend — a win for Napoli would seal the third and final Serie A Champions League qualification slot by virtue of results between the two teams. Benítez is rumoured to take charge of the record Champions League/European Cup winners next week and would be a quick replacement for Carlo Ancelotti. If the man behind a magical occurrence in Istanbul ten years ago takes charge of one of the most glamorous, attractive, and powerful sides in football, can he convince an England international to leave for Spain at such a young age? Leaving Liverpool for Real Madrid should be easy, but it may be the case that Sterling wants to play in the Premier League for a few more years before considering a move elsewhere.
Raheem Sterling arrived at Liverpool under the very manager who may soon attempt to take Liverpool's number 31 to sunnier climes, but the paths of the two didn't cross for very long at Liverpool. Talk of great respect or a closeness between the two may be somewhat creative, although Benítez would have had some involvement in bringing the player from London to Merseyside. Liverpool would rather Sterling left for Bayern Munich or Real Madrid instead of possibly thriving at a rival English club, but a sale abroad may result in a lower selling price. Clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City (no, sit down Manchester United) would accept that the most talented English players are going to be extremely expensive, especially if moving from a rival club. The fee for a move abroad wouldn't be cheap, but Liverpool would surely accept less so that the player can go elsewhere.