According to the Daily Star, Manchester City will make a sensational attempt to sign Liverpool trio Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson, as chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak aims to make alterations to the club’s squad.
The Manchester outfit reportedly view Henderson as a potential replacement for Yaya Toure, who has been linked with a move to Inter Milan.
However, the report in the Star also states that that any deal for Coutinho, who is under contract until 2020, would hinge on Man City meeting a valuation in the region of £35 million. Although, it also highlights that Etihad bosses believe that £20 million may be sufficient if Liverpool fail to secure a top-four finish.
If Sterling was also to be pursued by City, it could be argued that of these three individuals, the Manchester club would feel most confident in trying to acquire his services, due to his ongoing contract saga. Significantly, the 20-year-old has refused to sign a £100,000-a-week deal, and he appears to be unsettled at Anfield.
While Man City may believe that they can take advantage of Sterling’s current contract situation, it is more difficult to see how they could benefit from transfer deals for Henderson and Coutinho.
Henderson’s goal and assist record for Liverpool in the league this season does not suggest that he would be an apt replacement for Yaya Toure. While the Ivorian has experienced indifferent form this term, he registered 20 goals and 9 assists in 35 league matches last season, and this is far superior to the 6 goals and 8 assists which Henderson has contributed in 31 league games this term.
In result, it is clear that Henderson is not a goal-scoring midfielder, and it would be unwise for City to pursue the 24-year-old in the hope that he could emulate Toure’s previous form.
City are undoubtedly also aware of Coutinho’s recent exploits, including his recent winning goal against Blackburn in a FA Cup quarter-final replay, and an incredibly impressive long-range effort against Southampton in February, which are both testament to his successful development at Liverpool since his £8.5 million move from Inter Milan in 2013.
However, while the 22-year-old attacking midfielder is highly promising, it is unlikely that Man City will be in a position to meet a potential valuation of £35 million, while maintaining a pursuit of Sterling, who is likely to have an even higher asking price.
Further to this, any transfer dealings would also need to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, which the Manchester outfit have fallen foul of previously.
If Al-Mubarak did decide to identify Sterling as a top priority signing from Liverpool in the summer, then City would not only be in pursuit of a player who would greatly compliment their attacking flair, but also an individual who is yet to realise his potential at the mere age of 20.
Sterling’s pace and trickery have consistently seen him at the centre of attacks produced by Brendan Rodger’s side, and as a result, he has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season. Consequently, when the summer transfer window opens, Man City should focus on securing the forward’s signature.