Liverpool have reached an agreement with Premier League rivals Manchester City over the £49 million ($76 million, 68 million euro transfer) of England forward Raheem Sterling, the BBC and other British media reported Monday.
However, the 20-year-old’s proposed move is still subject to personal terms and a medical.
Sterling was left behind by Liverpool when the club flew out to Thailand for a pre-season tour on Sunday, fuelling speculation that a move to City was imminent, despite being named Saturday in a 30-man squad for a trip that also includes matches in Australia and Malaysia.
Earlier this month it was reported that Liverpool had turned down a £40 million bid for Sterling from City, with only an offer closer to £50 million likely to tempt them to let the wantaway forward leave Merseyside.
Sterling’s refusal to commit to Liverpool has angered the club’s supporters, who jeered him at an end-of-season awards dinner.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’s relationship with Sterling cooled considerably when the player turned down a lucrative new contract worth £100,000 per week in January this year.
In February, Rodgers said Sterling had been offered an “incredible deal”.
Two months later, Sterling’s relationship with the Liverpool hierarchy became even more strained when, in an interview with the BBC given without the club’s approval, he confirmed he had rejected the Reds’ latest contract offer.
Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, then added to the growing rift by saying his client would not sign a new deal with Liverpool even for “£900,000 a week”.
Amid the row over whether he would or should sign a new Liverpool deal, Sterling was involved in controversy after photographs emerged of him appearing to puff on a shisha pipe, and then allegedly inhaling laughing gas, were published.
But it is the contract dispute and Sterling’s recent absence from training which have angered Liverpool fans above all else.
Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, Sterling’s captain at Anfield until the end of last season, was decidedly unimpressed by the behaviour of his former team-mate.
“It looks very disappointing from where I’m sat. The fans have shown him great support, they want him to stay and I believe that he should too,” Gerrard told Sky Sports from Los Angeles where he made his debut for LA Galaxy on Saturday.
Sterling returned to training on Friday after a two-day hiatus when he said he was ill.
“I’m not happy with all that carry-on. He needs to go in and see the owners. You don’t have to throw in illness, or refuse to go on tour,” said Gerrard.
Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR’s academy in 2010 and has since scored 23 goals in 129 senior appearances for the club.
He made his senior England debut in 2012, scoring one goal in 16 appearances.
Liverpool finished sixth in the Premier League last season and so missed out on the Champions League, whereas runners-up City have qualified for European football’s elite club competition. – Agence France-Presse