Raheem Sterling has become one of only three former Liverpool players to have joined both Chelsea and Manchester City.
Sterling’s move to West London was confirmed earlier this week. The 27-year-old has joined the third club of his senior career, after swapping the Etihad Stadium for Stamford Bridge.
Before all that, he was of course a Liverpool player. Sterling scored 23 goals in 129 games after joining as a 15-year-old from QPR. After nearly winning the league at Anfield, his move to City in 2015 still rankles with many Reds fans.
Remarkably, the England star was reported to have ‘not ruled out’ a move to Liverpool this summer. That was never going to happen, but he has now become part of a very small group, population: three. Here are the other two.
The first man to complete the trio of England’s top three from last season did so in 2008. That man was Nicolas Anelka.
Anelka can even go one better than Sterling, having played for Arsenal from 1997-1999. He also had a two year stint at Bolton Wanderers in the mid-2000s.
Prior to his stay in Lancashire, he played for Liverpool on-loan during the second half of 2001/02. Gerard Houlier saved his compatriot from an unhappy spell at PSG and he was an instant hit at Anfield.
After scoring five goals in 22 games, there was reportedly and option to make the deal permanent. But Houlier preferred the Senegalese forward El-Hadji Diouf who promptly flopped at Liverpool.
Instead, Anelka joined Man City for £13m that summer. Still only twenty-three at the time, he was a big hit at a then mid-table City. The Frenchman scored 45 goals in 103 games before leaving for Fenerbahce in January 2005.
He was soon back in the Premier League with Bolton, though. After a good spell at the Reebok Stadium, he joined Chelsea in the winter window of 2008.
Despite never fully convincing, he was a success at Stamford Bridge. One Premier League title, two FA Cups and a Golden Boot later, he left for China midway through the season in 2012.
Joining Sterling and Anelka is another relatively unfulfilled talent – Daniel Sturridge. After joining Man City as a 14-year-old in 2003, he came through the academy to score six goals in 32 games for the Citizens.
Unfortunately, he was never able to fully nail down a place in the team at the Etihad, and left for Chelsea in 2009.
It was a similar story for Sturridge in London, as he was in-and-out of the team. Though he did manage to score 24 goals in 96 games at Stamford Bridge, winning a Premier League, two FA Cups and a Champions League. Still only twenty-three, he moved to Liverpool in January 2013.
At Anfield, Sturridge hit the ground running and didn’t look back. Injuries disrupted his later years, but he was often unplayable during seven years at the club. He scored 67 goals in 160 games, helping the club to the Champions League in 2019.
Now finding himself without a club, Sturridge has drifted out of English football’s consciousness.
Interestingly, like Anelka, he also had a spell at Bolton – on-loan in 2011. I guess we know where Raheem’s heading once his spell at Chelsea comes to an end.