Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool for a deal worth up to £49 million.
The news brings to an end a long-running and highly public transfer saga, with the England international even threatening to go on strike before twice calling in sick to training in a bid to force a move away from the club, having told Brendan Rodgers of his desire to leave.
Sterling was included in the club’s pre-season tour squad, despite informing his manager that he did not wish to travel, but his move to City edged closer on Sunday after he was withdrawn from selection.
City twice attempted to buy Sterling earlier this summer, but saw both of their overtures snubbed before a third and final offer, totalling £44 million up front plus a further £5 million in add-ons, was accepted at the weekend.
Liverpool subsequently issued a statement, wishing Sterling well, while Manuel Pellegrini has hailed the acquisition of the forward.
“Raheem Sterling is one of the best attacking players in world football, and I am very much looking forward to him joining our squad out in Australia later this week,” he told the club’s website.
“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.”
Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, claimed earlier this week that there had been a “breakdown in trust” between Sterling and Rodgers, suggesting that his client no longer wanted to play under the Reds manager.
However, the 20-year-old now has his move and becomes City’s record signing, eclipsing the £38.1 million deal that saw Sergio Aguero join the club in 2011, and the most expensive English footballer of all time.
QPR are also due a windfall, with Sterling’s former club retaining 20 per cent sell-on fee thanks to a clause in the forward’s contract when he moved to Anfield for an initial £400,000 in 2010 now totalling around £9 million.
Sterling will wear the No.7 shirt at City.