The controversy surrounding the future of Raheem Sterling overshadows Liverpool’s crucial away match at Arsenal.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (APRIL 2, 2015) (ITN) – England forward Raheem Sterling is not for sale and will not be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season despite media speculation over his future, manager Brendan Rodgers said on Thursday (April 2).
“I’m quite relaxed. It’s two and a half years to go on his deal and is not going anywhere in the summer, so we will very much focus on trying to make him the best player that we can,” Rodgers told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match with Arsenal.
Sterling, in a non-permissioned interview with the BBC, denied on Wednesday he was a “money-grabbing 20-year-old” but said he was in no rush to sign a new contract.
The forward has been offered an eye-watering 100,000 pounds ($148,300) a week to sign a fresh deal, according to media reports.
Rodgers, who has had to deal with rumours about Sterling for most of the season, said Liverpool did not need to let the player go.
“If the club isn’t going to sell, and doesn’t want to sell, it won’t sell — it’s as simple as that,” he said. “Money as I said has never been the objective here for the club.”
“For us it’s really about continuing the nurturing and development of a young player who has made huge strides and someone who we believe we still have a lot of input into development to come so he can be consistently a player playing at the very top of his game.”
Rodgers confirmed a point made by Sterling in the BBC interview that a new contract would not be discussed until the end of the season at the earliest.
The manager also said the reported interest shown in the player by Arsenal did not detract from Liverpool’s aspirations.
“What Raheem is saying is that his ambition is to win trophies and be successful. Then. it is perfectly aligned with what we are looking to do,” explained Rodgers.
“Arsenal is a fantastic football club of course but this is Liverpool and this is one of the great clubs of the footballing world and then as I said, for Raheem to be playing here it is an honour for him to play here, a club like Liverpool, in front of our great supporters and he understands that. He sees that.”
“I think what he is saying overall is that he has two and a half years left in his contract,” Rodgers added. “He is quite relaxed as much as I am about the situation and between now and the end of the season, he just wants to really focus on that.”
($1 = 0.6743 pounds)