Brendan Rodgers warns Raheem Sterling over new Liverpool deal

Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling’s advisors that Liverpool will not be held to ransom over a new contract and fears an excessive salary could jeopardise the player’s future.

The Liverpool manager claimed Sterling has been offered “an incredible deal” for a 20-year-old, one that rewards his development into the team’s finest player this season, and gave the clearest illustration so far that the protracted contract saga stems from a failure to agree terms with the forward’s agent, Aidy Ward. Ward is currently in the process of leaving Impact Sports Management to start his own company but, while that has complicated finalising a deal, Rodgers stressed Liverpool will not bow to the demands of any player.

Sterling is under contract at Anfield until 2017 and has yet to sign a new deal despite negotiations opening in October. Club captain Steven Gerrard last week urged Liverpool to agree terms with both Sterling and Jordan Henderson “before it is too late”, with the vice-captain’s current deal due to expire in 2016.
And Rodgers commented: “Steven is relaying a message that the club obviously wants as well. Both players are very, very important for the future and the club recognise that and I only hope as the manager that it will be resolved very soon.

“What the club has offered (Sterling) is an incredible deal for a young player. I have spoken to Raheem a number of times. He is very happy here and you see that in his game. What he has been granted at this football club is an opportunity. We see that with lots of young players they are getting the opportunity to play here and they get rewarded for that.

“But we are certainly not a club that is going to give out way way above what a player is worth at a certain time of his career. It is not a case of giving any player, and I am talking generally here rather than just Raheem, what they want. We want to reward our best talents, they are a big part of our future and we are confident that will all be hand and resolved soon.”
As was the case before Sterling signed his current five-year deal in 2012, and applies to all youngsters at the club, the Liverpool manager believes there must be incentive for a player to develop in his contract.
“For me in general, and not just about Raheem, it is very important that young players have something to strive for,” Rodgers explained. “If they get too much too young then it can really sabotage their development. That is obviously the job of the football club and why we communicate a lot with the players and their advisors. If they are given sound advice and good advice they will see that because it is about mapping out the career of a young player, it is not just this deal.

“In Raheem’s case he has been outstanding since we put him in the team but we mustn’t forget this was a 17-year-old boy who was given an opportunity at Liverpool. In the two and half years since he has been introduced into the squad he has been fantastic but he still has a long way to go.

“He still has bit to do in his development and we believe this will be the best place for him and I believe he knows that as well. It is important that you reward and for him his value and worth is very important for us, but also that you leave something for them to progress onto the next level and that is same for all young players, not just Raheem.”
Credit: Andy Hunter/Guardian Sport