Manchester City’s football development executive Patrick Vieira rates Raheem Sterling highly and believes the club’s interest in signing the Liverpool forward is understandable.
City have already had two offers – the latest worth £40 million (Dh231m) – rejected but reports suggest they are preparing a third for the England international.
Liverpool value the 20-year-old, who still has two years remaining on his current deal but has refused to sign a new £100,000-a-week (Dh578,000) contract, at £50m-plus (Dh289m).
And while some have criticised that valuation Vieira is a fan of the youngster. “I think if you go down and ask 10 people what they think about him, I think nine would give you a positive answer,” Vieira said. “I would be part of the nine people because he’s shown how good he is, how well he’s been doing at Liverpool.
“If he is in the market, not just City would be interested in him. “But that’s the first team and I’m not part of the first team, I work with the academy so I’m just giving you my opinion.”
It has been suggested to me that £35.5m represents City’s last bid. Would already make Sterling world’s most expensive teenager
— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) June 17, 2015
Vieira also believes the loss of their Premier League title honour to Chelsea last season should be viewed in context.
“The target of the football club is to always try to win the Premier League title. You only have one team who can win it,” he added.
“Chelsea won it last year, so that means United, City, Arsenal and Liverpool were not going to be happy, but I think what is important is to analyse the situation and analyse what the club has achieved in the past four years. If you analyse the last four years, it’s been more successful than anything else.
“Don’t forget that four or five years ago, the club wasn’t at that level. I think the journey of the club so far has been fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool are keeping a close eye on the Copa America as they pursue their interest in South Americans Roberto Firmino, Carlos Bacca and Salomon Rondon.
Liverpool’s new signing Roberto Firmino. http://t.co/oaPb1ReyfF
— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) June 24, 2015
The club have a delegation at the tournament in Chile as they look to bolster their summer recruitment. Manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to bring in another forward and the £32.5m (Dh187m) release clause of Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke is considered too high.
Therefore he has turned his attention to Bacca, who scored 28 goals in La Liga last season, and Rondon, a Venezuela international who has 20 goals in 39 matches for Zenit. The club believe both represent better value for money, with reported fees of £20m (Dh115m) and £15m (Dh86.6m) respectively.
Firmino’s agent Roger Wittmann has already confirmed he is destined for the Premier League, while the 23-year-old, when asked about his future yesterday, said: “It is in the hands of God.”