This week, Manchester City finally confirmed the signing of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool on a five-year contract, following a long-winded transfer saga. But in the reaction to the news, the main talking point was the fee City paid to land their man. Perhaps £49m is indeed a tad steep on the face of things, but I firmly believe that Sterling will be a highly useful asset for the club.
Nowadays, in the current climate, top quality homegrown players are something of a rarity. You often have to pay a premium for someone who would then qualify for your home-grown quota. Aside from the obvious choices like Rooney, Sterling is one of the best homegrown players around and that is something that is vital for Manchester City, having seen the likes of Frank Lampard, James Milner and even Dedryck Boyata depart this summer. City were in need of a player with real quality as well as someone who would fit their criteria sooner rather than later, so bringing in Sterling was a no-brainer really.
Many have already pointed to the list of English players who have recently pulled on the sky blue of Manchester City, but I don’t think what people have said regarding that is totally truthful. Indeed, Scott Sinclair was a poor piece of business from City and was nothing more than a panic signing after City let go of Adam Johnson. As for Jack Rodwell, he showed promise in games against Chelsea and then a two-goal display against Norwich, but he just couldn’t stay fit and was rightly moved on. Gareth Barry, James Milner, Joe Hart and Joleon Lescott have all made the move to City and claimed two Premier League titles in their time with the club. To me, that ends the myth that City ‘ruin’ English talent.
It would be ridiculously naive to think that Sterling will be warming the bench with the Blues. You just don’t pay that sum of money for a bit-part player. Sterling is a recent winner of the European Golden Boy award and players who have claimed that award have endured a real meteoric rise. In my view at least, snapping up Sterling is a shrewd move because this is a player with real promise and City may just be the right environment for him to blossom.
For a while now, City have been crying out for a player of Sterling’s ilk. He is a direct, explosive player who can play across the front in a variety of roles and I am confident he will provide a new dimension to the City attack. Jesus Navas had been signed to provide the all-important width in what could be considered quite a narrow City system, and though he hasn’t been a poor addition by any stretch, Sterling is a huge upgrade. He is still raw of course, but his energy and persistence in attacking areas will be a useful tool for the Blues. Possessing almost unmatched speed and dribbling ability, he has the potential to be the outlet that Pellegrini and his side most desperately crave.
The thought of Sterling combining with the likes of Silva, Aguero, Nasri and Yaya Toure is utterly refreshing. With that service, he can only improve as a player. Granted he has only just surpassed 20 goals in his career so far, but the clever movement is there for certain and I do think he is a better finisher than many people would like to admit. Sterling himself has already spoken glowingly of the immense quality in the City side and that could only raise his performance levels.
City have done well to strike an agreement with Liverpool after all that that has happened this summer, and with the details of the add-ons now seemingly closed, the deal looks much better in terms of value. With QPR claiming a considerable sum and then City paying around £4m in add-ons depending on the team’s performance in relation to the Premier League and Champions League, the fee would surely be worth every penny if it helps City in their quest for silverware.
City have got their man and a large portion of City fans are understandably thrilled. This is the biggest signing since the capture of Aguero in 2011 and the new number 7 may well turn City into a whole new force.