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Patrick Vieira: Raheem Sterling interest shows Man City are a big club

NEW YORK -- Manchester City's bid for Raheem Sterling shows how far the club have come in recent years, said Patrick Vieira.

Sterling, 20, has made it clear he won't sign a new contract at Liverpool and City have had two bids of £30 million and £40 million already rejected by the Anfield club.

Sources have told ESPN FC that City are preparing another bid in the region of £50 million to land the highly-rated winger and Vieira, who heads up youth development in his role as a City football development executive.

"I think you are in a period where you have a lot of speculation and that's the way football is," he told ESPN FC at an event for Western Union's PASS initiative. "In a period where people and journalists are going crazy, that is a part of the game.

"I think every big name will be linked with City because City is a big club in Europe. Players will want to join the club and have success."

Sterling made 35 Premier League appearances in the 2014-15 season, picking up seven goals and assists, and has attracted Europe's elite with his performances despite Liverpool's failure to secure a place in the Champions League.

"I think if you go down and ask 10 people what they think about him, I think nine would give you a positive answer," Vieira added. "I would be part of the nine people because he's shown how good he is, how well he's been doing at Liverpool.

"If he is in the market, not just City would be interested in him. But that's the first team and I'm not part of the first team, I work with the Academy. So I'm just giving you my opinion."

City have seen their homegrown player quota hit hard by the departures of James Milner, Frank Lampard, Micah Richards and Dedryck Boyata and Sterling would boost that number, having come through the ranks at QPR before joining Liverpool.

Manchester City's recent struggles could see them miss out on next season's Champions League entirely.
Manchester City have struggled to reach the heights of 2013-14.

The club were not able to challenge Chelsea for their Premier League title this season and also failed to progress past the last-16 in the Champions League as they finished without silverware, but Vieira insists that things have changed significantly since he first arrived.

"I think when I look at the team four or five years ago, as opposed to where it is now, it's obviously a different level," he said.

"I remember before I joined the club, Manchester City were fighting to stay in the Premier League. We're just talking about four or five years ago, now they are fighting to win the title. They are fighting to win the Champions League. They are competing against the best teams in Europe.

"So I think the team has improved a lot, the club is really going up fast. Now, when you have Manchester City in the market, to try to bring a big name, big name players think about it. That shows how Manchester City have become bigger and important in international football."

City's title challenge faded out last campaign, but Vieira does not believe that that means the club had a poor season.

"The target of the football club is to always try to win the Premier League title. You only have one team who can win it. Chelsea won it last year, so that means United, City, Arsenal and Liverpool were not going to be happy, but I think what is important is to analyse the situation and analyse what the club has achieved in the past four years," he added.

"If you analyse the last four years, it's been more successful than anything else. Don't forget that four or five years ago, the club wasn't at that level. I think the journey of the club so far has been fantastic and you just have to look at the players we have in our squad."

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