Liverpool have reached an agreement with Manchester City for the £49 million transfer of Raheem Sterling.
The forward was left out of Liverpool’s squad which flew out yesterday for their pre-season tour of Thailand as talks over the big-money switch progressed.
The England international, who has been at loggerheads with Liverpool since turning down a new contract earlier this year, is now on the verge of completing his move to the Etihad Stadium.
City have already failed with two bids for Sterling, the second reported to be worth £40m, this summer, with Liverpool understood to be holding out for nearer £50m.
Assuming the 20-year-old agrees terms with City and passes a medical, his protracted and acrimonious departure from Anfield will finally be sealed.
Sterling has been at loggerheads with the Reds since February, when manager Brendan Rodgers claimed he had been offered “an incredible deal”.
Two months later Sterling angered the club by confirming, in an unsanctioned interview with the BBC, that he had turned the contract down.
The impasse deepened when Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, claimed the player would not sign even for “£900,000 a week”.
He became embroiled in fresh controversy after photographs emerged of him appearing to puff on a shisha pipe, and then allegedly inhaling laughing gas.
Sterling missed the start of pre-season training earlier this week, citing illness as he sat out Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions before returning on Friday.
It had been reported that he had asked Rodgers if he could be excused from the pre-season tour, although he was initially named in the squad until yesterday’s developments.
His actions have prompted criticism from a host of former Liverpool stars with Steven Gerrard the latest to speak out, the former Anfield skipper revealing he is” not happy with all that carry-on”.
Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR’s academy in 2010 and has made 129 appearances for the club, scoring 23 goals.
He made his senior England debut in 2012 and has scored one international goal in 16 appearances.
Liverpool flew to Bangkok yesterday ahead of their first friendly against a Thai All Stars side tomorrow.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, meanwhile, has bid farewell to Bayern Munich fans in a statement and video posted on Twitter ahead of his move to Manchester United.
The Germany captain is set to join the Premier League club upon the successful completion of a medical and said goodbye to the supporters who have followed him in Munich for the past 17 years.
“Hi dear Bayern fans, and the South Stand in Munich,” Schweinsteiger said in a Twitter video. “I know that has been a lot of speculation about my future in recent weeks and months and I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic time we spent together.
“It started in the Olympiastadion and continued into the Allianz Arena. It was a really fantastic time and we experienced some great moments with 15 national titles, including the historic treble and other highlights.
“We are always going to have a bond and I will keep you in my heart forever. I hope you, dear fans, understand that I have chosen this path now. I think it’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to it, although I will never forget you.
“I will always hold you here [in my heart] and I hope we see each other again soon. Yours, Basti.”
The 30-year-old midfielder added in a written statement: “The decision was very hard to make because you and FCB have and always will be an extremely important part of my life.
“Nevertheless, I would like to again gain experience at a new club.
“My destination is Manchester United. I hope you understand my decision. No one can take away the incredible journey we had together. #MiaSanMia.”
Schweinsteiger, who will become the first German to play for United’s first team, will leave behind a sizeable gap in Bayern’s squad by leaving the Allianz Arena. He has been on the Bavarian club’s books for 17 years and won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokals and the Champions League.
Leaving United is Robin van Persie who was due to arrive in Istanbul last night to complete his move to Fenerbahce.