Simon Jordan is at it again. After 21-year-old Bukayo Saka was awarded a new contract at Arsenal reportedly worth north of £300k a week, the former Crystal Palace owner took aim at the youngster on talkSPORT.
"He may follow the pathway of Raheem Sterling. A very good player but not the world class world beater many people think he might be. Saka needs the right people around him to not allow money to distract his evolution."
Taking aim at Sterling is something we thought even The Sun and Daily Mail had given up on five years ago. But Jordan strangely decided to take a cheap dig at a man who has had a brilliant footballing career so far.
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Sterling was accused of chasing the money when he left Liverpool for Manchester City in 2015. It was a move that made him public enemy number one on Merseyside, but also one that was fantastic for his career. He got to develop under one of the greatest managerial minds of the modern era in Pep Guardiola, won four Premier League titles and has scored 115 top-flight goals so far.
Domestically, he has also won five League Cup titles and one FA Cup, and his success and development has allowed him to become a key player for the Three Lions. In England’s most successful spell since 1966, Sterling has arguably been their most influential player alongside Harry Kane under Gareth Southgate.
He’s been relied upon in all situations. He helped England to a World Cup semi-final, was the top goalscorer for the Three Lions at Euro 2020 as they reached the final, and has been superb at major tournaments for England having recently played in his third World Cup.
His consistency has earned him 82 England caps, making him the 15th most capped England men’s player and 22nd highest scorer. And he’s still 28. Just because his move to Chelsea hasn’t quite worked out (yet), you can’t just diminish all of his accomplishments.
Jordan could have compared him to any footballer who has moved clubs for more money. Jack Grealish did exactly that while Declan Rice and Mason Mount are set to make big money with moves this summer. But Jordan's words are careless in the least given some of the racist undertones present in comparative reporting of Sterling in the past.
There’s no need to be jealous of a young black man at the top of his game, earning good money. There’s definitely no need for a lazy and misplaced comparison between him and another hugely successful black man. Raheem Sterling has constantly fought against these agendas since he broke through as a teenager. Yes, he’s black. Yes, he is rich. Yes, he bought his mum a house.
But he is also a brilliant, brilliant footballer who has won the lot domestically and produced for his country on the international stage. Whether you remember him for that goal v Germany or his domestic treble with Man City, his career has been a resounding success. If Bukayo Saka is even half as successful as Sterling is, Arsenal and England fans will be delighted. Let’s hope he does follow in Sterling’s footsteps.