From ESPN FC:
Raheem Sterling is set to tell Liverpool he wants to leave the club in the summer when talks between the two parties resume this week, sources have told ESPN FC.
Multiple news outlets reported on Monday night that the England forward would inform club chiefs that he sees his future away from Anfield. Those reports came after a well-placed source told ESPN FC last month that Sterling will not sign a new contract at Liverpool as he waits to see what offers come his way this summer
Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward will meet Liverpool’s chief executive Ian Ayre on Friday to express Sterling’s desires, the reports say, and the player already told Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in person before the 1-1 draw at Chelsea on May 10 that he wanted to leave, according to the BBC.
As a soccer fan I have seen how young talents, especially young English talents, are overvalued and fast-tracked way too quickly in their careers. The USMNT has a proclivity for this when in their rush to anoint the next big “savior of American soccer” they force young players such as Freddy Adu and Julian Green into the spotlight too early and end up doing irreparable damage to their careers (Jury is admittedly still out on Julian Green but recent events in his career have been worrisome). These actions are understandable. Finding the next young player is a lot cheaper then the transfer market and if the gamble pays off you have a stud who will be good for many years to come. It is no wonder that Liverpool are so protective of Raheem Sterling and why teams are so eager to sign him just like teams were with Martin Odegaard.
Young players, however, are very volatile. In fact, it is not just a problem with professional soccer players, since most kids that age are also volatile. At that age these boys are becoming men and the road to becoming a man is filled with many pitfalls. Some boys navigate it successfully while others fail miserably. That process is then magnified ten-fold when these boys are navigating that road as professional soccer players. Most boys their age can make one mistake and slip it under the rug whereas any mistake a professional soccer player makes is blown out of proportion. Take for example Raheem Sterling’s “hookah” fiasco. It is not a drug and many kids do it on occasion but because he is a high-profile soccer player he was vilified for it. It’s hard to go through life like that and it is even harder to go through life like that when you also have loads of stress on the training field and during games. All of this stress can ruin young players without proper guidance.
Brendan Rodgers has shown that guidance towards Raheem Sterling and the other young Liverpool players. He has protected them, given them guidance, and even put his career at risk by letting Raheem Sterling visit family in Jamaica during the middle of the season so that he could recoup both mentally and physically. Not many managers would do this for a young player especially when his team was struggling and needed all hands on deck. Most managers would just run the player into the ground regardless of age because they are just an asset that he bought to win games. At the end of the day Raheem Sterling does not know how cushy he has it. Liverpool is willing to pay him more than he’s worth and treat him with special care because they want him to succeed in a red shirt.
If Sterling goes to another squad like a Manchester City or Real Madrid he will just be benched and booed when he fails to perform. Gareth Bale is ten times the player Raheem Sterling is and he’s been thrown to the wolves at Real Madrid. Raheem Sterling, like all other players in professional soccer, is entitled to chase money and titles but he also should consider his career. He could still leave Liverpool in four years and be a a mature player with his entire career ahead of him. Therefore, he needs to take a step back and realize his development could be seriously stunted by a premature move. If he plays his cards right he has a long career ahead of him.