Raheem Sterling to join Man City in £49m deal

Footballer Raheem Sterling is set to join Manchester City from Liverpool in a £49m (€69m) deal which will make him the most expensive English footballer in history.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed the sale of Sterling in a press conference today in Bangkok, where his team are currently undertaking a pre-season tour.

Sterling had been the subject of two bids from Manuel Pellegrini's City in June but Liverpool refused to budge until an offer in the region of their £50m (€70.3m) asking price was made.

The deal, which is subject to contract negotiations and a medical, will make the 20-year-old winger the most expensive English footballer ever, eclipsing the £35m (€49.2m) Liverpool paid for striker Andy Carroll in 2011.

However, Sterling is still some way off the title of Britain's most expensive footballer, held by Gareth Bale since his £85.3m (€120m) move to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

Rodgers was forced to deny that there had been any rift between him and Sterling, saying that his relationship with the player remained "very strong". Sterling was originally listed in the 30-man squad for the tour but was subsequently removed.

Several Liverpool legends have said the England international, who scored seven goals last season, is overpriced. Former defender Jamie Carragher wrote that Sterling "has not yet hit the heights of an Owen, Rooney, Fowler or Giggs" and that the price represented "a great deal for Liverpool".

John Aldridge, who scored 63 goals for the club during the 1980s, tweeted his relief that the transfer saga was over.

Thank god that saga is all done and dusted with.He gets his 150k a wk and his agent gets his pension!We need a proven scorer now!!!

— John Aldridge (@Realaldo474) July 12, 2015

A poll for Sky Sports News found that 72% of those polled believed Liverpool got the better half of the deal.

A recent study by football business analysts Soccerex ranked Sterling as the most-valuable young player (under-21) in Europe, estimating his value at €49.3m.

David Wright, marketing director at Soccerex, says that only time will tell whether Sterling represents good value for Manchester City.

"That £49m could well be proven to be cheap in the future," says Wright. "If, in a decade, he has formed part of a spine at Manchester City which has gone on to win the Champions League and numerous Premier League titles, they'll look back at this as money well spent."

Wright adds that Sterling's price was probably inflated by his desirability for Manchester City as a home-grown English player.

According to FA rules, Premier League squads must have a minimum of eight home-grown players in a 25-man squad. To qualify as home-grown, a player must have been registered with an English club for three seasons prior to his 21st birthday.

FA chairman Greg Dyke intends to introduce even stricter rules from 2016, whereby each club will require 12 home-grown players out of 25.

Sterling was signed as a 15-year-old by Liverpool from Queens Park Rangers in 2010.

Manchester City started last season with eight home-grown players but have since lost five, meaning they need to recruit extra English talent to abide by the rules.