Real Madrid are keeping tabs on Liverpool contract rebel Raheem Sterling.
Bernabeu legend Zinedine Zidane, now managing the Spanish giants’ Castilla B-Team but long tipped for the No 1 role, insists the club are looking for the world’s best youngsters to add to their squad.
Sterling would certainly fit the bill. The England winger, who has netted six times in the Premier League this season, is at loggerheads with the Anfield hierarchy over a new deal.
He rejected the most recent offer of £100,000 a week and has attracted interest from Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
But Zidane has revealed that the European Champions are also after Sterling, pointing to recent Real captures like Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane as proof of their commitment to snapping up the continent’s premier young talent.
‘We know who Raheem Sterling is, and of course we are monitoring him as a player,’ Zidane said.
‘There are very few players in the world who can improve the Real Madrid squad, so it is going to make sense we monitor the progress of the best young players in the world.
‘We monitored Bale for over a year, the same with Isco and also Varane.
‘We monitor many of the best young players in Europe, then if we feel they have something to offer Real Madrid we will contact their club and try and make the next step.’
Real Madrid have the splashed the cash on the likes of Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane in recent years Sterling’s boss Brendan Rodgers admitted after his side’s dismal 4-1 defeat at Arsenal that Liverpool will have trouble attracting top players without Champions League football.
He said: ‘It makes it difficult, there’s no doubt about that. Most players want to be in the Champions League. They want to play at the top level of the game and if you’re not in the Champions League it makes it difficult for you. We know that.
‘It’s going to be a little like this until we become more stable. We’ve got young players who are growing, getting more experience and then hopefully there will be a period where we qualify again. We want to be in the Champions League. That’s important and it is key for us.
‘It’s highly unlikely this year. But Liverpool is a great club. I said that before I came into it. It’s a phenomenal club that players want to play for.’