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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling: I am no money-grabber, Arsenal link flattering

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling has told BBC Sport that he is not "a money-grabbing 20-year-old" as his contract wrangle rumbles on, while discussing speculation linking him with a move to Arsenal as "quite flattering."

The England international has rejected what manager Brendan Rodgers described as an "incredible offer" -- believed to be £100,000-a-week -- as the club look to tie down one of their prize assets.

Sterling still has more than two years to run on his current £35,000-a-week deal but talks have been put on hold until the summer.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Liverpool will not consider selling the forward this summer even if he refuses to sign a new contract, with the player -- through his agent, Aidy Ward -- reportedly asking for closer to £150,000-a-week.

"I don't want to be perceived as a money-grabbing 20-year-old," he said. "I just want to be seen as a kid that loves to play football and to do the best for the team.

"It's not about the money at all. It's never been about money. I talk about winning trophies throughout my career. That's all I talk about.

"I don't talk about how many cars I'm going to drive, how many houses I've got. I just purely want to be the best I can be."

Raheem Sterling is a beloved figure at Anfield and a key member of Liverpool's attack, but at 20 years old he may lack the maturity to join another top club in England or in Europe.
The England international has been linked with a host of top clubs having put off contract talks at Anfield until the summer.

Sterling said he would have accepted a contract worth less than £100,000-a-week had Liverpool offered him the deal at the same point last year.

"If, at that point in time, I was offered a contract, I most definitely would have signed straight away, probably for far less money than being said now," he said. "I just think the timing was a bit off."

The 20-year-old has been linked with a number of elite European clubs, with Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini suggesting that Sterling could be worth as much as £100 million.

The Liverpool winger responded to the speculation by saying: "I try to kill it off, but I don't think the public can see it that way. I think they just see it as this 20-year-old boy being greedy.

"I just want to take the time to think about what I've achieved in my career so far, where I need to go and what I need to do to get better as a player." 

Liverpool's Premier League rivals Arsenal have been discussed as a potential destination this summer, with Sterling admitting it is "quite flattering" to be linked with the Gunners.

But with Arsene Wenger's side hosting Liverpool on Saturday, Sterling said: "I try to just block everything out and do well, [the] next game is against Arsenal and I want to do my best. I won't be hiding. As I said, I'm just happy to be playing football.

"I want to win something at the end of the season and the FA Cup's a great chance. I just want to focus on football and, when it gets to the end of the season, assess my position as a 20-year-old player playing in the Premier League."

Sterling also said that the departure of Luis Suarez and the impending exit of Steven Gerrard have affected him, adding: "You really want to be working with world-class players day in, day out. It's obviously left a little dent, these two world-class superstars leaving, but I think we have good players coming through at Liverpool."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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