Date: 14th July 2015 at 6:12pm
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Raheem Sterling is now officially a Manchester City player following a swift conclusion to negotiations…

Liverpool have sold winger Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for a record-setting fee after his long, drawn-out departure dramatically concluded in the space of 48 hours.

Both clubs have formally announced the transfer this afternoon via their official websites with stating: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm Raheem Sterling has completed a transfer to Manchester City.”

Events progressed quickly once the decision to omit Sterling from Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia was made late on Sunday morning.

A fee, reported by the BBC to be worth £49m, including add-ons, was soon agreed before the player subsequently passed a medical and finalised terms with City.

Such a figure not only makes Sterling the most expensive English player in history but also the most expensive U21 player of all time worldwide.

Furthermore, his sale represents a new record signing for the Citizens and, from a Liverpool perspective, the amount is only eclipsed by the departures of Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres in terms of the revenue generated.

Sterling, 20, joined the Reds from Queens Park Rangers for just £500k in 2010 and made 129 appearances for the Anfield club, scoring 23 goals.

The Londoners, recently relegated to the Championship, will also receive a substantial windfall from the sale, estimated by Sky Sports to be £9.8m, due to a 20% sell-on clause negotiated at the time of his departure.

For City it’s a case of third time lucky after previous bids of £35m and £40m were rejected last month.

Sterling’s confirmed exit brings to an end a messy saga which began at the beginning of the year when he rejected a new £100k-per-week contract offer.

An unsanctioned interview on the matter and outspoken comments from his agent followed before the situation became virtually untenable last week when the player twice skipped training citing illness.

Contrary to some reports however, Kop boss Brendan Rodgers has strongly denied that he and Sterling ever fell-out personally.

“Raheem and I have always remained very strong in our relationship, and have up until he left,” commented the Northern Irishman during a press conference yesterday. “There is no issue there.”

Sterling, who The Telegraph say will earn £200k-per-week at Eastlands, made his senior England debut in November 2012 and has registered one goal in 16 caps.

Vital Comment
The overwhelming emotion being felt by the majority of Liverpool fans at this moment in time is probably relief; regardless of how highly they rate Sterling, everyone wanted the matter ended one way or another. The fee, of which £44m will be paid up front, unquestionably represents great business by the Merseysiders, who were rewarded for their hardline stance and initial refusal to pander to the player’s whim. For all his undoubted talent, Sterling lacks consistency and certain aspects of his game, most notably finishing, are actually pretty mediocre at present. Of course, in time, perceptions can shift and if he fully fulfils his massive potential then City will also do very well out of the move. For Raheem, he now faces a battle to patch-up his reputation and overcome the inflated price tag which can be a huge burden on a player. Liverpool’s attention swiftly moves to the small matter of reinvesting the money and it is here where they need to improve markedly, otherwise future high-profile departures will also be inevitable.

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