Manchester – Raheem Sterling became the most expensive English footballer in history when he signed for Manchester City from Liverpool on a five-year contract, the England forward’s new club announced on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old completed his move to the 2014 Premier League champions after passing a medical in a deal worth an initial £44 million but could rise to £49 million.
The forecast move away from Anfield appeared imminent at the weekend as Sterling stayed behind when Liverpool flew out for their tour of Thailand, Australia and Malaysia.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini rated his marquee signing as “one of the best attacking players in world football”.
The Chilean said: “He is a young player with outstanding ability, and I am sure the Manchester City fans will be very excited about seeing him in action for the team.”
A statement released on City’s official website, www.mcfc.co.uk, confirmed: “Manchester City are delighted to announce Raheem Sterling has joined the club on a five-year deal.
“The 20-year-old England international’s transfer is a club record fee for an English player and he also becomes City’s record signing.”
The Londoner assumes the most expensive English footballer mantle from Andy Carroll, who moved from Newcastle to Liverpool for £35 million but never lived up to the tag.
Sterling is second only to Gareth Bale on the all-time most expensive British player chart.
The headline capture brings the curtain down on a long-running transfer saga involving the England international who was under contract at Liverpool until 2017.
But he had rejected a £100 000-a-week deal to extend his stay at Liverpool, with the Reds finally accepting City’s third bid of the close season.
Sterling joined Liverpool from Queens Park Rangers in February 2010 for an initial fee of £600 000, and the Loftus Road club will receive 20% of his fee.
Merseyside Police meanwhile have confirmed they are investigating Twitter threats made towards Sterling and his three-year-old daughter after news of his imminent switch was announced on Monday.
“The language used in these tweets is abhorrent,” a Merseyside Police spokesperson said in the Liverpool Echo.
“We are taking the incident extremely seriously and an investigation by detectives in Liverpool CID is ongoing.
“People who use the internet to target others and who commit criminal offences such as harassment or hate crime in doing so are not beyond the law and can expect to be brought to justice.”
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