Graeme Souness has heaped praise on Raheem Sterling after his hat-trick in Manchester City’s 5-0 rout at Brighton and claimed any club in the world would want to buy him.
Sterling took home his third match ball of the season after scoring every half hour as Pep Guardiola’s men shooed off the Seagulls to guarantee second place in the Premier League.
The England attacker increased his tally to 27 goals in all competitions for Man City, including 17 in the league, making this season his most successful from a scoring perspective.
Speaking on Sky Sports after Saturday night’s game at the Amex Stadium, Liverpool and Rangers legend Souness had no shortage of compliments to pay to the matchwinner.
Souness said: “Sterling is the real deal. He would be welcomed anywhere in the world – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich.”
Sterling has three more years on his current contract, committing him to Man City until 2023 on wages of £300,000 a week.
But he is thought to have refused to sign a mega new deal worth up to £450,000 a week last autumn, preferring to wait for clarity over the future of manager Guardiola.
Man City are reportedly relaxed about reports that Sterling could look elsewhere – perhaps even arch rivals Manchester United – if the Citizens are banned from European football.
Meanwhile Souness compared Sterling to his Liverpool counterpart Sadio Mane, who has scored 20 goals for the English champions this campaign after winning the 2018/19 Golden Boot.
Souness said: “Sterling is younger (than Mane). They’ve got similar qualities, but Sterling is already at Mane’s level.
“Mane is a warrior and likewise any team would take him at the moment. Mane is up there at 28-years-old, Sterling is at 25 and there is still another three years before his peak years, so I’d have him slightly ahead.”
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