Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool stand firm on Raheem Sterling

By Carl Markham

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling's latest apparent laughing gas incident is unlikely to have any effect on his club's stance in relation to the player's ongoing transfer saga.

Manchester City failed on Wednesday in their second attempt to sign the 20-year-old after upping their initial offer by £10m to £40m, comprising £35m plus £5m of add-ons.

A day later footage emerged on The Sun's website allegedly showing the England international taking the legal high nitrous oxide on holiday in Ibiza.

It is the second time he has been caught apparently inhaling laughing gas, and while Liverpool have refused to comment on the incident it is understood the club's view on the player's position has not changed.

They value him in excess of £50m and, with a 20% sell-on fee due to QPR, they will hold out for the best price they can.

City - and Arsenal, who are also interested but have to yet to make that formal - take their public image seriously and the latest footage is more likely to have affected their opinion of the player more than Liverpool's.

There is some positive news for the club, however, as it is believed defender Martin Skrtel is set to sign a new contract after having his own issues over the terms of the deal.

Liverpool are also closing in on their fourth signing of the summer with Charlton teenager Joe Gomez scheduled to undergo a medical today. Gomez's arrival - following that of James Milner, Danny Ings and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan - is likely to signal the departure of centre-back Sebastian Coates to Sunderland on a £4m permanent deal.

Liverpool also remain interested in signing Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne but, having had an opening bid of £10m rejected, they are prepared to be patient in their pursuit.

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