LONDON • Manchester City are about to find out whether Raheem Sterling has the ability to justify his enormous price tag or is just another over-rated young English player.
The English football club are investing £49 million (S$103 million) on the fleet-footed forward in the hope that he can provide the sparkle to bring the Premier League trophy back to the Etihad Stadium.
Sterling, 20, will become the most expensive English player ever when he completes his move from Liverpool, where he made his name before controversially rejecting a new contract.
City finished eight points behind Premier League champions Chelsea last season and manager Manuel Pellegrini knows he has an ageing group of players.
Sterling's arrival will inject energy and youthful exuberance to a squad with an average age of around 29.
The England winger, who signed for Liverpool as a 15-year-old from Queens Park Rangers in 2010, can operate on the right, left or down the middle. He will give City the option of playing with a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 formation.
If Sterling can strike up the same partnership with City striker Sergio Aguero as he did with Luis Suarez during the Uruguayan's spell at Liverpool, then Pellegrini's side could challenge Chelsea.
However, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that City have paid over the odds for Sterling.
"At Liverpool, sometimes he was outstanding, but in the second half of last season, he tailed off a bit," Carragher told Sky Sports.
"The same thing will happen at Man City because he's still only young. Raheem Sterling - at this stage of his career and what he's done up to now - is possibly worth around £30 million.
"In the next three or four years, if Sterling can take City to a couple of Premier League titles, more success in the Champions League, they will say he's been worth it."