Liverpool's stance on Raheem Sterling has been strict and consistent up till now: the player has two years on his contract and is very much a player who will be counted on next season. Yes, the club would consider selling Europe's Golden Boy in the event of an offer no less than £50 million, but it appeared that a deal would be hard to agree for any buying club. As the asking price was so prohibitive, forcing prospective buyers to wait for promise to turn into consistency, a compromise would be reached with Sterling and Aidy Ward ending with the young technician featuring for Liverpool after the summer transfer window closes. That no longer seems to be the case.
Manchester City are believed to be going all out for the best home-grown and European talent with a wishlist that includes Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Paul Pogba, and Kevin De Bruyne. A bid of £25 million plus £5 million in incentives was reportedly rejected by Liverpool, but Manchester City are expected to submit a second offer for Sterling's services. Journalists with close connections to Liverpool such as Tony Barrett and Paul Joyce have stated that there is a feeling that Liverpool are now open to selling the player, and a compromise could be reached between the two North-West clubs. Such a compromise would have to come close to the club's £50 million valuation to enable Sterling's representative to discuss terms with Manchester City, but the gears may move quicker than expected with this softer stance on Sterling's future.
Queens Park Rangers will take 20 per cent of any fee agreed between Liverpool and a buyer for Sterling, making a player-plus-cash deal a possibility in order for Liverpool to extract the most value from the deal. Paul Joyce mentioned that Edin Džeko could be of interest to Brendan Rodgers, but would Džeko be the top quality striker needed to remedy the striking ills of last season? Would the Bosnian international be open to moving to Anfield at this stage of his career? His goal record in Germany and England merits respect, but can he recapture his very best at 29 for a club unable to plan around an increasingly fragile Daniel Sturridge?
Many Liverpool fans have been perplexed by the actions of Sterling and his representative, finding the pronounced dip in form, the unsanctioned interview, unsavoury comments from Aidy Ward, and the rejection of what they believe to be a generous contract offer all indicative of a player who may be classed more as trouble than brilliant potential. The fact that further development will result in a player of real class could be why Liverpool should fight to keep the player, or, at least, take a page out of the Daniel Levy book of nightmare negotiations (third edition). Losing Luis Suárez and Raheem Sterling in successive summers doesn't look great, and probably isn't what the club should be doing after finishing second barely a year ago.
Selling a prized and valued asset to Barcelona or Real Madrid is far more palatable than strengthening a domestic rival such as Chelsea, Arsenal, or Manchester City. Just because Fernando Torres didn't produce his best at Chelsea, it does not mean that Raheem Sterling will follow suit. Conversely, Arsenal managed to retain Champions League status after both Manchester clubs swooped for key players between 2009 and 2012. Ideally, Liverpool would be keeping Raheem Sterling for another few years, but there is a way forward with or without the player. There may be some way to go before a deal is struck, but how Liverpool respond to a potential sale will either push the club forward or bring another year of Europa League football in 2016/17.