Raheem Sterling’s agent insists player will quit Liverpool

Club cancel talks with Aidy Ward after he says no new offer can keep winger at Anfield

Liverpool’s  Raheem Sterling: his days look numbered at Anfield as agent insists he won’t sign a new deal with the club.  Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling: his days look numbered at Anfield as agent insists he won’t sign a new deal with the club. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

 

Raheem Sterling’s contract dispute with Liverpool descended into open conflict during an extraordinary day of acrimony and finger-pointing that has seen the club break off talks with his agent.

England manager Roy Hodgson said he is “worried” for the player at the centre of an increasingly embittered row that is being closely monitored by Chelsea, Arsenal and both Manchester clubs.

Brendan Rodgers is now deliberating whether he can keep Sterling in his team for their final game of the season at Stoke City after the jarring way Liverpool received confirmation Sterling had no intention of staying on Merseyside, no matter what deal was offered.

Liverpool immediately cancelled a meeting that had been scheduled for today with Aidy Ward, Sterling’s agent, after he was quoted in the London Evening Standard as saying there was no way his client would stay at Anfield.

He branded Jamie Carragher, the pundit and one of the club’s celebrated former players, a “knob” for criticising him in his television role for Sky Sports.

Badly advised

“I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation,” said Ward. “I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700,000, £800,000, £900,000 a week. He is not signing. My job is to make sure I do the best with them [my clients] . If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.”

Carragher had been critical of the way Sterling was taking on Liverpool, saying the 20-year-old should change his agent and accusing Ward of being responsible for a series of damaging and badly timed leaks aimed at ultimately ensuring a big-money transfer.

Ward’s response has been seen at Anfield as further evidence that the agent is determined to drive a wedge between the player and the club.

“Carragher is a knob,” he allegedly said. “Everybody knows it. Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players – none of those things matter to me. It is not relevant. I am not worried.

“Worried is making a decision not knowing what is going to happen. Every Premier League club will make a bid for him.”

Ward, whose other clients include Saido Berahino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, later tried to distance himself from those comments, claiming it was an off-the-record conversation and he had not been quoted fairly.

However, the damage is substantial and Liverpool’s view is that there is no point having a meeting with someone who is not apparently even willing to listen to an offer. Liverpool have been made aware of interest from Manchester United, though there has been no official contact, and suspect it is genuine when Ward talks of all the major English clubs wanting Sterling.

Rodgers is due to give his thoughts when he holds a news conference at 9.30am on Friday and is expected to reiterate Sterling is not for sale.

Current deal

However, it is also apparent the Sterling camp will do everything they can to make his position untenable. The player, who has two years remaining on his current deal, was jeered by some when he collected the club’s young player of the year award at a dinner on Tuesday and this development will only worsen his standing among the club’s supporters.

 

Guardian Service

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