Precocious young winger forces through lucrative move

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-13 22:43:01

Raheem Sterling got what he wanted as Manchester City will pay up to 49 million pounds to pry him from Liverpool. Sterling will now be on a team that has more realistic hopes of ­winning titles but more notably, he is now the most expensive English player ever.

Only 20 years old and with 16 England caps, Sterling seems to have the world at his feet. Precocious Sterling is a talented player, one of the few sparks in a disappointing Liverpool team last season. Just reaching his 20s, he is set to have many good years ahead of him. This despite courting controversy last season when he openly indicated his dissatisfaction with Liverpool and his desire to move to a bigger team.

But things are never for certain in soccer. He showed disloyalty to his club Liverpool by publicly agitating for a move and disparaging it during the season before refusing to train in the past few weeks. To be fair, he is not the first young footballer to want to force a move and will not be the last.

However, the enormous price tag will be a major weight on his shoulder. His transfer fee of 49 million pounds exceeds those paid for Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne or David Beckham. As soon as he starts playing for City, the pressure on him will be ­enormous.

This is more so since the English media and fans are always on the lookout for the next big English star. Rooney endured this hype in the past, as well as the likes of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, West Ham's Andy Carroll, the most expensive English player before Sterling, and Everton's Ross Barkley, and they have not always been able to deliver.

Furthermore City, with its array of big-name and expensive stars, have a record of not being a good stage for young English talent. Players like Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards arrived at the Etihad in their early 20s and saw their careers languish on the bench before moving away. Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph reportedly turned down a move to City after speaking to Sinclair and Richards.

Sterling needs to prove himself right away at City. Having shown no hesitation in enduring criticism from Liverpool teammates and fans, he might be able to handle the pressure at City. But if his career falters or City fail to meet his expectations, Sterling will only have himself to blame.

The author is a Beijing-based writer.

Posted in: Extra Time

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