City prepared to meet Sterling’s $79 million valuation

Manchester City will meet Liverpool’s 50 million-pound ($79 million) asking price for Raheem Sterling, according to an exclusive report from British tabloid the Sunday Express.

City previously failed with two bids in their attempts to prize away 20-year-old Sterling from Anfield, the latest a 40-million pound package that was flatly rejected by the Reds’ hierarchy Thursday.

Liverpool’s American owners FSG are holding out for no less than 50 million pounds, a fee that City will reportedly now dispense with as they look to make drastic changes to their squad following last season’s disappointing campaign. With clubs like Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea lurking, City are intent on pushing through a deal for the Queens Park Rangers academy product in a summer in which recruiting English talent is top of the agenda.

Former Liverpool player Ray Houghton believes that Liverpool must use the funds from Sterling’s transfer to sign marquee names, a strategy that Arsenal have employed in recent times.

“They should spend but it might depend on what happens with Raheem Sterling. If [Manchester City] get it up to the 50 million pounds that Liverpool are looking for then that should free up some money,” Houghton told TalkSport.

“And not for Brendan [Rodgers] to bring in a 10 million-pound player or a 15 million-pound player, you have to go for a 30 million or a 35 million pound and really put down a marker like Arsenal have in the last two years in getting Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. They’re the names that get fans on the edge of their seats and get them upbeat for the season ahead and that is what Brendan needs. Having lost two coaching staff members that is not a good sign for Brendan at all.”

The 2014 English champions also remain keen on Sterling’s international teammate Jack Wilshere, who is said to be torn over his Arsenal future. Wilshere suffered an injury-ravaged campaign last year, and as a consequence saw his place in Arsenal’s starting XI come under increasing threat. And the 23-year-old is said to be concerned over his game time for the upcoming season, with Arsenal set to make further additions to an already packed midfield.

One name being mentioned is Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, who has a 37 million-pound release clause in his contract.

Carvalho’s arrival would mean more competition for places in midfield, which could see Wilshere opt to join the Citizens, who are prepared to guarantee the Londoner a starting berth. But according to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal will fend off City’s interest by offering Wilshere a new contract which will see his current wages doubled.

Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is eying a reunion with former charge Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is entering the final year of his contract with German giants Bayern Munich.

Steve Bates of the Sunday Mirror reported that Van Gaal has deployed negotiator Ed Woodward to Germany in order to thrash out a deal for the 30-year-old midfielder.

Schweinsteiger is believed to be considering a fresh challenge after spending his entire career with the 2013 Champions League winners.

And the prospect of linking up with Van Gaal – who managed the German from 2009 to 2011 – is though to be of great interest to the unsettled Schweinsteiger.

Germany and Bayern legend Lothar Matthaus is in favor of the rumored switch. “Schweinsteiger needs a coach who will play him according to his strengths, and Van Gaal will do that,” he said.