Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: City agree £49m deal with Liverpool for wantaway winger

City's third bid has been successful

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The Independent Online

Liverpool have agreed a fee of £49m with Manchester City for Raheem Sterling, with the player now free to tie up a wage deal which some sources suggest could be £200,000 a week.

The salary is as yet unconfirmed but Sterling will certainly vastly increase the £100,000 a week offer Liverpool had made him to stay at the club. The £49m offer Liverpool have accepted includes add-ons and is close enough to meet the Anfield club’s demands for £50m.

The size of the Sterling deal means Liverpool can now press ahead with their own attempts to agree a fee for Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke. Queen’s Park Rangers, who helped develop Sterling, are also due around 20 per cent of the fee.

The agreement between the clubs came after a frenetic few days of negotiation which coincided with Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph reversing his decision to join City.

City had been rebuffed with their initial Sterling offers – one of £25m rising to £30m, and the second £35m with add-ons, which took the deal to around to £40m. City went back with a £44m bid on Friday. Liverpool again said that was too far from their asking price, but the offer of £45m rising to £49m with extras satisfied them.

 

Sterling is expected to join up with City on their pre-season tour in Australia, when his medical has been completed. His departure from Liverpool has been unsavoury, with the player not showing up for training on two occasions last week, claiming he was ill, and threats of disciplinary action.

The capture of Sterling finally delivers one of the significant signings that City’s chairman, Khaldoon al Mubarak, had said would be joining the ranks this summer. The quota of City’s homegrown players has become a problem and strengthened Liverpool’s negotiating position. Frank Lampard, Micah Richards, James Milner, Scott Sinclair and Dedryck Boyata, all homegrown players, have departed the club this summer.

There was surprise over the weekend by Delph’s decision to stay at Villa Park, despite having capitalised on the £8m buy-out clause in his contract. Delph decided to remain at Villa, where he has more chance of regular football. “I’m not leaving,” he said. Delph had signed a new deal with Villa last season, taking him through to 2019, but he did travel to Portugal for their pre-season training camp. “I’m staying at the football club and I can’t wait for the start of the Premier League season,” he added.

The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, still wants another proven goalscorer in the club’s ranks, despite the addition of the Brazilian, Roberto Firmino, last week.

Liverpool remain hopeful that they can reach a deal over Benteke, although no bid has yet been made.

The club are looking to be imaginative as they seek a way through the stumbling block to a breakthrough:  the £32.5m escape clause in the Belgium striker’s contract which Villa have set as their valuation and Liverpool categorically will not meet.

The club may look to offer players to Villa as part of a deal.

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