Real Madrid Transfer Rumors: Talks for Raheem Sterling?


Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is one of the best young players in the world at the position, and he’s already been mentioned as a potential long-term replacement for Franck Ribery if Bayern Munich are indeed interested in acquiring the 20-year-old. It’s clear that Sterling is destined to leave Anfield this summer, so it’s now a question of just how much money Liverpool can sap out of a top club for the winger, who decided that 900,000-pound-per-week wages weren’t good enough to satisfy him. You can chalk up Real Madrid as another team linked to the England international.

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According to The Sun, Real is ready to open talks with Liverpool and are ready to bid £45 million, which seems like slight overpay even by Los Blancos standards. Just as Madrid’s biggest club have been linked to Sterling, Bayern are reportedly no longer interested in the winger after meeting with his agent, per Bild, which isn’t really a surprise given the antics his agent has been up to over the past few months.

In any case, it’s interesting to see Real Madrid linked to the 20-year-old, but Rafael Benitez could use some more depth on his squad. Unlike previous manager Carlo Ancelotti, Benitez uses rotations to keep players fresh, and he’ll need more backup wingers than just Jese. Gareth Bale could experience a revival under a new manager and system and even Cristiano Ronaldo, though he won’t say it, could use some more breathers if he wants to stay out wide now that he’s getting older.

That said, Sterling’s wage demands and reported possible bid offer of £45 million aren’t generally in the realm of bench players, so we’ll see exactly how things proceed. This rumor seems a bit far-fetched, but Sterling could appeal to Real due to his age, upside, skill, pace, and the fact that he played as a pseudo-striker at times at Liverpool last season. He has some versatility, and perhaps they are attracted to that.

Sterling wouldn’t be more than a bench player for an elite club like Real, of course, and he’ll have to continue to work on his finishing and improve his first touch. But there’s no question that he’s an electric playmaker capable of leading an attack, and criticisms of him have usually been unfair. After all, he was his team’s best chance-creator this past season, their leader in goals, and leader in assists, though the consensus is generally that Coutinho had the better go-around in 2014-15.

Regardless, seven goals and seven assists are nothing to sneeze at when talking about a 20-year-old winger, and I’m sure he would have had significantly more assists had his team’s strikers been better (or Daniel Sturridge healthy). He was forced to play in an uncomfortable, more central role at times, but he still managed to be effective despite clearly being better when deployed on the left.

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