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.
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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."
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.