City go after de Bruyne next

New Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling leaving the club's Etihad Stadium. At £49 million from Liverpool, he is their costliest purchase.
New Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling leaving the club's Etihad Stadium. At £49 million from Liverpool, he is their costliest purchase.PHOTO: REUTERS

Outlay could nudge £100m after arrival of Sterling but prospect for Juve's Pogba fades

LONDON • Manchester City are set to push their summer spending towards the £100 million (S$212 million) mark this week following the £49 million capture of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool.

They will now turn their attention to Wolfsburg and Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who is expected to cost about £50 million.

City have made the 24-year-old their next top target as they expect to miss out on Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, and have already shown their determination to bring down the average age of the squad.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini hailed the capture of Sterling on Tuesday by describing the 20-year-old as "one of the best attacking players in world football".

"He is a young player with outstanding ability, and I am sure the Manchester City fans will be very excited about seeing him in action for the team," added the Chilean.

READY FOR CHALLENGE

They're top class - there's everything you need here and plenty more. There's everything you need to take you to the next level so there are no excuses.

RAHEEM STERLING, on his new club Manchester City

Sterling, who will wear the No. 7 shirt, signed a five-year contract with City worth about £180,000 a week and insisted that he was ready to handle the pressure of being England's most expensive player.

"I've just had to learn to take it all in my stride but I never imagined I'd be at this point at the age I am now and breaking a British transfer record fee," he said.

City are expected to fork out the majority of an initial £44 million fee up front, with the remaining £5 million payable if the England forward and the club reach certain targets.

Liverpool will receive an additional £500,000 for every 30 starts the forward makes in the Premier League or Champions League, up to a maximum of £2 million if he makes a total of 120 starts in either competition.

TOP QUALITY

The world-class players that are here... that are capable of winning things year in, year out.

STERLING, on why he chose to join City

The outstanding £3 million in add-ons will hinge on City's success. The Merseyside club will earn £1 million each time City win the title and £1.5 million for each Champions League triumph up to the stipulated amount.

Queens Park Rangers, Sterling's first club, will receive an £8.8 million windfall after negotiating a 20 per cent sell-on clause with Liverpool following his £600,000 transfer from Loftus Road in 2010.

The deal eclipses City's previous club-record fee of £47 million for Argentina striker Carlos Tevez in 2009.

  • A LOT OF STERLING FOR RAHEEM

  • Raheem Sterling has become the most expensive English footballer ever, after his £49 million (S$104 million) move from Liverpool to Manchester City eclipsed the £35 million Liverpool paid to Newcastle for Andy Carroll in 2011.

    He is also the world's costliest player under the age of 21. The previous record was held by Lucas Moura, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain from Sao Paulo for £31.8 million in 2013.

    The 20-year-old has displaced Carlos Tevez as City's record signing. The club forked out £47 million for the Argentina striker in 2009.

    The deal is the second-biggest transfer between rival English Premier League clubs, behind Fernando Torres' £50 million move from Liverpool to Chelsea in January 2011.

Asked what attracted him to City, Sterling said: "The world-class players that are here and a squad that are capable of winning things year in, year out. The more quality players that are around you, the more quality it brings out in you, so I can't wait to get started and play alongside them."

Sterling was set to fly to the Gold Coast yesterday to join his new City team-mates on the club's pre-season tour of Australia.

He could be in line to make his debut in a friendly match against Melbourne City, City's sister club, on Saturday or, failing that, against Roma in the Guinness International Champions Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground three days later.

The news finally brings to an end an ugly stand-off with Liverpool, one that did little to enhance Sterling's reputation or that of his controversial agent, Aidy Ward. But having got the move he wanted, the player promised to rise to the challenge facing him and insisted he was unfazed by the size of the fee.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline 'CITY GO AFTER DE BRUYNE NEXT'. Print Edition | Subscribe