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Sterling "flattered" by Arsenal interest, not likely to join Arsenal

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Oh yay! A saga!

Don't look so surprised, man
Don't look so surprised, man
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Because what we all need is another long, drawn out, boring transfer saga - when it's not even transfer season, dammit! - along comes young Raheem Sterling to fill the void left in our souls by all those unrequited pursuits of years gone by.

As we all know, or probably know, Sterling is a 20 year old Liverpool player who is under contract with Liverpool for two more seasons after this one. Which of course means he's trying to negotiate a new deal.  There have been rumors that he's been offered £100,000/wk by Liverpool, and that he's turned that offer down because he wants to talk after the season.

This of course has led to inevitable speculation about his future - Arsenal are often mentioned as a suitor, because Big Club.  Liverpool say he's going nowhere, Sterling says he's "flattered" by the interest, and Arsene Wenger has said...nothing at all.

Is he going to end up at Arsenal? Honestly, it's hard to see. If his rumored contract demands of £180K/wk are real, that's....a lot of money for a 20 year old with six goals this season. The most realistic scenario is that Chelsea and one of the Manchesters end up inflating his value beyond all possible reason, and he ends up at one of those two. Arsenal's attack is pretty well established at this point; if Sterling to Arsenal actually becomes a reality, that'd be neat I guess, but it's not like Arsenal are desperate for a Raheem Sterling right now.

Aside from the playing considerations, there are those who suggest that all the focus on Sterling and his contract are a huge distraction, that he's paying too much attention to his advisors and not enough to his coaches and his actual situation, and that the whole thing makes Sterling look ridiculous. This whole thing reminds me of another historical saga - no, not that one, the one about Nicolas Anelka.

Nicolas Anelka got really, really good at Arsenal, and in 1998 - at age 20 - he started to get his ears bent by his agent/brother, who advised him to cash in while he could. So Anelka threw away a fairly promising career path at Arsenal - he was well on his way to becoming a club legend at that point, or at least a sub-legend of the Pires/Ljungberg level (he wasn't on Henry/Bergkamp's level, but he was really good). But he decided to chase the money instead, and he spent his next 10 years at seven different clubs. Sure, he won a few things along the way, but that was almost an afterthought, because for whatever reason, he never settled in one place.

I hope Sterling makes a smart decision - whether that decision involves Arsenal is almost secondary, but whatever he decides to do, I hope he does it because it's best for his future first and his bank account second, not the other way around.