• Premier League

Rodgers dismisses Sterling-for-Walcott swap talk

ESPN staff
November 19, 2012 « Di Matteo ready to drop Torres | Chartbeat test »

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has denied speculation that the club could swap Raheem Sterling for Arsenal contract concern Theo Walcott in January.

Sterling, 17, has been one of the emerging talents of the new Premier League season - appearing in 11 of 12 league games for Rodgers and developing as a real threat on Liverpool's right flank, earning an England cap in the process.

But reports last week suggested the Jamaica-born winger could nevertheless be swapped for Walcott in the winter transfer window, as both clubs reach a convenient solution with players in their squad who are yet to sign new contracts.

Walcott is free to leave Arsenal next summer and is keen to do so unless he receives assurances about getting a chance to play as a central striker at Emirates Stadium, while speculation has grown in recent days that Sterling has been unimpressed with the terms Liverpool have offered him in his first professional contract, which they hope he will sign on his 18th birthday in December.

But Rodgers has moved quickly to dispel those reports, insisting Sterling is keen to commit his future to Anfield and is not considering any other options.

"Raheem is in a really good place here," Rodgers said. "He has been given an opportunity here this season.

"He will tie himself down to a new contract because he wants to be here and he can be a great here.

"We are trying to move the club forward over the next couple of years and there will be a little bit of pain along the way, but there are not too many teams in the Premier League who are starting with three teenagers and he is one of our outstanding stars.

"Why would you leave one of the biggest clubs in world football? It's a no-brainer."

For his part, Wenger revealed over the weekend that he would not consider selling Walcott in January, even if the former Southampton prodigy rejected the club's final contract offer.

Rodgers is clearly a huge fan of Sterling, adding: "Raheem is just amazing, he came off the back of playing 86 minutes for his country, and looked like he could play another 90 minutes at the end of this game - the club has got a fantastic talent.

"He is so bright and so sharp and what I like now is that you are seeing that little bit of arrogance with the ball. He is comfortable now, you see him and [Luis] Suarez combining better in each game and that is a tribute to them and how hard they are working on the training ground."

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