It became rather evident in recent months that the 20-year-old had little desire to remain at Anfield so the £49million deal looks to be a successful conclusion for all parties.
For Brendan Rodgers, a huge weight has surely been lifted off his shoulders. Liverpool’s hierarchy will also be content, having held firm and eventually got the fee they felt Sterling merited.
Whatever the reason for Sterling falling out of love with life at Anfield, having a young and prodigious talent on the books that clearly wanted out of the club could have had massive negative connotations for Liverpool had Sterling remained.
The Liverpool manager was forced in the latter part of last season to field repeated questions on Sterling’s future, taking the focus away from progress on the field.
While the player undoubtedly possesses a lot of potential, Sterling has less than 100 Premier League appearances under his belt and at times last season struggled to repeat the brilliance that was evident when Luis Suarez was still a Liverpool player.
With Sterling off the books, Rodgers has an increased transfer kitty with which to continue rebuilding. The Reds boss has been quick to suggest a ‘direct replacement’ is not required and it seems more likely he will turn his attention to Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.
Sterling is now a Manchester City player and so Manuel Pellegrini must decide how best to use him.
Where will he fit into the Chilean’s line-up? Sterling has become accustomed to something of a free role at Liverpool but, with David Silva and Yaya Toure at the Etihad, he may have to settle for a more orthodox role on the wing.
Spaniard Jesus Navas is his most likely competition for that role, but Sterling will feel he is capable of cementing a place ahead of the 29-year-old former Seville man.
Sterling was quick to point out that playing with genuine world-class players on a consistent basis will bring out the best in him – perhaps a parting a shot at those he left behind on Merseyside.
For City, this was a deal worth pursuing. Sterling clearly has bags of potential and he has shown glimpses of his best form in a Liverpool shirt – albeit fleetingly last season.
His arrival also fulfils a need on City’s part to increase the number of English players at the club.
Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany has alluded to Sterling forming a similar partnership with Sergio Aguero to the one which so nearly produced a title for Liverpool in Rodgers’ maiden season.
If Sterling can recapture the form he showed in the early months of 2014, this deal could be the catalyst for bringing the title back to the Etihad from Stamford Bridge next season.
For now this is a move that suits all parties.
Sterling has successfully engineered his exit from Liverpool and has maintained the stance that silverware and not money is his career motivation.
By moving to Man City – twice champions in the last four seasons – he has given himself a platform to achieve all that he wants.
For Liverpool, the club has ensured a very good price for a player that lost his desire in a red shirt. Signed from QPR by Rafa Benitez for less than £1m, the Merseysiders are left with a huge profit.
Rodgers and Liverpool had their hand forced by Sterling’s willingness to manufacture his own exit.
Manchester City must hope the player matures suitably to avoid a repeat situation down the line.