Two things got me thinking and therefore prompted this article. The first was Raheem Sterling’s new found form under Pep Guardiola. The second thing was the interview doing the rounds in Simon Hughes’ new book, Ring of Fire, by Fernando Torres.
During his last season at Anfield and ever since, Raheem Sterling has been largely despised by Liverpool supporters. The general consensus of the youngster was that, despite his outrageous interview stating otherwise, he was a ‘money-grabbing 20 year old’ who wasn’t willing to put a shift in and turned his back on a club he owed so much to. Turning down a reported £100,000 a week deal, co-inciding with Liverpool’s decline towards the end of that campaign, sealed Sterling’s fate with Liverpool fans.
‘Snake’ is the word generally used, and there is no doubt Reds’ fans were disappointed he chose to jump ship so early. Many Liverpool fans took pleasure in his poor form last year, although it appears he could finally live up to his potential under Pep Guardiola.
Initially, it was easy to dismiss his exit as poor advice from his clown of an agent Aidy Ward and Champions League Football, understandably, turning Sterling’s head. However, comments made by Fernando Torres in Simon Hughes’ Ring of Fire really have to make you wonder is all as it seems behind the scenes at Liverpool. To quote Torres:
“They wanted to bring in young players, to build something new. I was thinking to myself: this takes time to work. It takes two, three, four maybe even ten years. I didn’t have that time. I was 27 years old. I did not have time to wait. I wanted to win. Here we are five years later and they are still trying to build – around the same position in the league as we left. It was presented as if I was a traitor. It was not like this in the discussion. Liverpool could not admit they were doing something wrong with the whole team. They had to find a guilty one.”
Torres’ comments suggest two things which are worrying for the club going forward under FSG ownership.
The first aspect of it is in the first half of the quote. FSG probably think that their transfer strategy is fool proof and will pay dividends in time. However, professional sportsmen have short careers and the better ones are not willing to wait for a project – they can simply move to a finished article. Under FSG stewardship, we’ve had Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling all leave for big money. All have gone on to play Champions League Football and compete for major honours whilst LFC have finished anywhere between 5th and 8th more often than not. Maybe it’s time for FSG to rethink the project, or get help from exterior sources (Everbright Group for a start) to raise the funds to compete and keep hold of our star assets.
The second comment that sparks thought is the line “It was presented as if I was a traitor”. This seems to suggest, according to Torres, that the club were happy to hang anyone out to dry who wasn’t willing to wait the time it takes for the project to work, detracting attention from themselves. One has to wonder that in summer, if Philipe Coutinho is next to follow out the door, will attention turn to FSG and the merits of their footballing strategy?
Written by @JackMitchell5