Manchester City have failed with a renewed bid for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling despite increasing their offer by £10 million.
The Merseysiders flatly refused £25m plus £5m-worth of add-ons last week and, despite a considerable improvement, they are still not inclined to sell for anything below their valuation of at least £50m.
City are the only club to formalise their interest in the 20-year-old England international and so the ball remains in their court and much will depend on how far they are prepared to increase the number of home-grown qualified players in their squad.
Liverpool have always maintained they do not want to sell Sterling, who has two years remaining on his contract, but there is no doubt the situation has deteriorated since the youngster turned down a new £100,000-a-week deal in January.
Agent Aidy Ward’s subsequent claim his client would not even sign for “£900,000-a-week” prompted Liverpool to cancel a scheduled meeting to reopen talks in May
But last month manager Brendan Rodgers said he expected Sterling to remain at the club and, at that point, they were still planning talks before the end of the season to try to extend his stay – even after Ward’s comments.
Sterling has maintained throughout negotiations that his issue is not about money, stating in an April interview not sanctioned by the club, that he did not want to be viewed as a “money-grabbing 20-year-old”.
Liverpool’s sixth-placed finish means they cannot offer him Champions League football next season and a disjointed campaign on the pitch personally has not helped.
The forward enjoyed his best form as a left-sided attacker alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge the season before last in the Merseysiders’ title near-miss but in the last 12 months he has found himself shunted between right wing-back, right wing, a number 10 and a central striker.
Liverpool, in the mean time, are still interested in bringing in the Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne.
However, having had an opening bid of £10m rejected it is understood they are prepared to be patient in their pursuit of the England full-back.
Yet with Saints set to secure Sporting right-back Cedric Soares, it would appear to pave the way for the 24-year-old Clyne to move to Anfield to join James Milner, Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan, who have all agreed free transfers.
The Merseysiders are also interested in Charlton’s 18-year-old defender Joe Gomez, who they could get for £3.5m.
Meanwhile, Premier League champions Chelsea are widely reported to have reached an agreement with Monaco to sign Colombian striker Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan.
Falcao scored just four goals in 29 appearances for Manchester United last season, with the club deciding not to take up an option to sign the forward on a permanent deal.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, however, remains a big fan of the 29-year-old, who impressed in Europe with Porto and then again at Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho is on the lookout for another striker following the departure of Didier Drogba, and recently spoke of his admiration for Falcao, who missed the 2014 World Cup with a serious knee injury.
There has yet to be any official confirmation from either club over a transfer, with Falcao away at the Copa America in Chile.
International team-mate Juan Cuadrado joined Chelsea in a £24.8m deal in January from Fiorentina and speaking to the media yesterday, Cuadrado indicated a potential deal for Falcao was in the pipeline. “I am very happy that he’s with us [at Chelsea], but first we have got to concentrate on the Copa [America],” he insisted.
Much like Falcao, Cuadrado had a limited impact in the Premier League last season, however Colombia coach Jose Pekerman feels the two players can bring the best out of each other if they are to unite at club level.
“I have no doubts that they [Falcao and Cuadrado] are going to help each other [at Chelsea)]and are going to be a success,” Pekerman told reporters at a press conference ahead of Colombia’s Copa America clash with Brazil today.
Chelsea could also be set to move for a goalkeeper as veteran Petr Cech looks likely to leave, with Arsenal keen to tie up an £11m deal rather than any potential player swap.
Stoke’s Asmir Begovic is one reported target, as is John Ruddy at Norwich, with Thibaut Courtois set to cement his place as Chelsea’s number one next season.