Liverpool reject Manchester City’s £40m bid for Raheem Sterling

Manchester City have failed with a renewed bid for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling despite increasing their offer by £10m (€14m).

The Merseysiders flatly refused £25m (€35m) plus £5m worth of add-ons last week and, despite a considerable improvement, they are still not inclined to sell for anything below their valuation of at least £50m (€69m).

City are the only club to formalise their interest in the 20-year-old and so the ball remains in their court and much will depend on how far they are prepared to increase the number of home-grown qualified players in their squad.

Liverpool have always maintained they do not want to sell Sterling, who has two years remaining on his contract, but there is no doubt the situation has deteriorated since the youngster turned down a new £100,000-a-week deal in January.

Agent Aidy Ward’s subsequent claim his client would not even sign for “£900,000-a-week” prompted Liverpool to cancel a scheduled meeting to reopen talks in May.

However, last month manager Brendan Rodgers said he expected Sterling to remain at the club and, at that point, they were still planning talks before the end of the season to try to extend his stay — despite Ward’s comments.

Sterling has maintained throughout negotiations that his issue is not about money, stating in an April interview not sanctioned by the club, that he did not want to be viewed as a “money-grabbing 20-year-old”.

Liverpool’s sixth-placed finish means they cannot offer him Champions League football next season and a disjointed campaign on the pitch personally has not helped. The forward enjoyed his best form as a left-sided attacker alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge the season before last in the Merseysiders’ title near-miss, but since then he has found himself shunted between right wing-back, right wing, a number 10 and a central striker.

Liverpool, in the meantime, are still interested in bringing in Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne despite having had an opening bid of £10m rejected.

Yet, with Saints set to secure Sporting right-back Cedric Soares, it would appear to pave the way for the 24-year-old Clyne to move to Anfield to join James Milner, Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan, who have all agreed free transfers. The Merseysiders are also interested in Charlton’s 18-year-old defender Joe Gomez, who they could get for £3.5m.

Meanwhile, Burnley full-back Kieran Trippier appears close to joining Tottenham after Clarets manager Sean Dyche confirmed the transfer was an “active deal”. The 24-year-old right-back has been linked with a switch to Mauricio Pochettino’s men following Burnley’s Premier League relegation.

Dyche said: “All parties are open with lines of communication, so we know what’s going on — other than when it’s going to actually happen — but it looks like it’s a long way down the line.”

In Europe, highly-coveted French midfielder Paul Pogba does not want to leave Juventus, according to his club. Top European teams have contacted the Italian champions in the hope of buying the 22-year-old, but Juve’s general director Giuseppe Marotta has told Corriere dello Sport: “I reiterate, we don’t want to sell Pogba and he has said today that he doesn’t want to leave.

“Pogba is a player that has been requested by several clubs, but we have not entered in any negotiation, because we consider him strategic to our project. The player... will only be put on the market if he says he wants to leave.”

Pogba has been strongly linked with Paris St Germain, with the Ligue 1 champions having reportedly offered him a wage package of €12m per season.

Marotta, meanwhile, confirmed that Juve forward Carlos Tevez is set to make a decision regarding his future in the next few days.

The Argentinian forward, who is currently competing at the Copa America in Chile, has been strongly linked with a return to Boca Juniors this summer.

“Tevez has declared his wish to end his glorious career in Argentina,” said Marotta. “We are awaiting a response from him and we are ready to help him, because it would be counter-productive to create an uncomfortable situation for both parties. We expect an answer from him before Saturday.”

Napoli will only consider selling Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain this summer if a club is willing to meet his buy-out clause.

Manchester United and Arsenal are reportedly eager to acquire the 27-year-old, while Atletico Madrid are also in the race to sign Higuain, who has a €100m buy-out clause.

“If a madman arrives and offers to pay his buy-out clause then one must consider it,” said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis. “Otherwise, Pipita [Higuain] will remain here.”

Higuain joined Napoli from Real Madrid in 2013 in a €40m transfer and has three seasons left on his contract.

Sevilla have agreed a deal to sign Gael Kakuta from Chelsea on a permanent basis. The French winger, who has been on loan in the Primera Division with Rayo Vallecano, arrives in Seville today to undergo a medical with the back-to-back Europa League winners.

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