Sterling move could be close

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Wantaway Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling could get his wish this week and seal a £49m move to Manchester City.

It is understood the two Barclays Premier League clubs have finally agreed the fee for the 20-year-old.

City have already failed with two bids, the second reported to be worth £40m, with Liverpool understood to be holding out for nearer £50m.

On Sunday, Sterling was left out of Liverpool’s squad which flew out for their pre-season tour of Asia as talks over the big-money switch progressed.

And by the time the Reds return, the England international is likely to be a City player, finally bringing an end to an acrimonious six-month saga.

Sterling has been at loggerheads with Liverpool since February, when manager Brendan Rodgers claimed he had been offered “an incredible deal”.

Two months later Sterling angered the club by confirming, in an unsanctioned interview with the BBC, that he had turned the contract down.

The impasse deepened when Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, claimed the player would not sign even for “£900,000 a week”.

He became embroiled in fresh controversy after photographs emerged of him appearing to puff on a shisha pipe, and then allegedly inhaling laughing gas.

Sterling missed the start of pre-season training earlier this week, citing illness as he sat out Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions before returning on Friday.

It had been reported that he had asked Rodgers if he could be excused from the pre-season tour, although he was initially named in the squad until Sunday’s developments.

His actions have prompted criticism from a host of former Liverpool stars with Steven Gerrard the latest to speak out, the former Anfield skipper revealing he is “not happy with all that carry-on”.

Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR’s academy as a 15-year-old in 2010 and has made 129 appearances for the club, scoring 23 goals.

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