Liverpool legend John Barnes has claimed that Raheem Sterling is not ready for a big money move away from Anfield and that the England star needs to hone his skills with the Reds by signing a new contract.
Sterling’s current deal is set to expire in June 2017 but Liverpool are keen to get the young superstar tied down to a new deal in the very near future.
That is proving difficult as Sterling has reportedly rejected a £100,000 per-week offer from Liverpool as he wants closer to £150,000 if he is to stay on Merseyside.
The 20-year-old attacker is currently on about £35,000 a week but wants to more than triple that deal to become one of the club’s top earners. Struggles over an agreement has led to speculation over his future and reports emerged last week that Manchester City would be willing to splash £50 million to sign the England international.
But Barnes thinks Sterling needs to sign a new deal with Liverpool and focus on improving his game in familiar surroundings, rather than becoming the next English star to flop at City.
“Raheem Sterling should absolutely sign the contract and stay at Liverpool,” the former Reds midfielder told talkSPORT.
“We’ve seen it with Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell at Manchester City. Where are they now?
“Sterling is not ready for a move to Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester City. He needs another two or three years at Liverpool. Then, if he decides he wants to move on, fine. He has to be very careful though.”
Barnes went on to suggest that Sterling is not the full package just yet and that staying at Liverpool would allow him to continue to grow as a player, while also adding that recent speculation could be affecting his form.
“I would advise any young player who has just been in the game for a year or so to stay and learn his trade. Show a level of consistency over a four or five year period before you make a big move. You will then be judged as a £50m player.
“He’s not been playing consistently well over a number of years and maybe his form has suffered because of all the speculation about his future.”