Liverpool prepared to sell Sterling after latest gas claims
Footage of unsettled winger sucking from a balloon on board a yacht in Ibiza emerges
Liverpool have rejected a £40m offer for Raheem Sterling, but must be tempted to wash their hands of the wantaway star after he was caught apparently inhaling 'hippy crack' laughing gas for a second time.
Footage of the 20-year-old inhaling from a balloon while at a yacht party in Ibiza was published in The Sun.
The paper notes that the player apologised to manager Brendon Rodgers in April after he was "exposed" taking nitrous oxide by the paper. But it says that he does not appear to have learned his lesson.
"On Tuesday he was videoed with the stem of an inflated pink balloon between his lips," crows the Sun, which explains that the gas is usually inhaled from a balloon. "Footage posted on messaging site Snapchat showed him giggling and dancing wildly as he revelled on board with two male pals and several girls."
It notes that the winger was "doubled up with laughter" in the clip and could be seen "dancing around with the balloon in his mouth".
The Reds rejected an opening offer of £25m and have now turned down a follow-up bid worth up to £40m.
"Despite Sterling's recent controversies, and his stated desire to move to a club with a greater chance of winning trophies Liverpool are desperate to hang on to one of the Premier League's outstanding talents," says the Daily Telegraph. "The Merseyside club insist they will not sell for below £50m."
Having previously ruled out selling the player, who still has two years to run on his contract, it is becoming "increasingly clear that Sterling's wish to leave Anfield this summer will be granted as long as Liverpool receive the kind of fee that they believe is commensurate with his talent and potential", says The Times.
"Key factors in Liverpool's present thinking are Sterling's fall from grace in the eyes of the Anfield supporters, given his continuing contract stand-off with his employers and his slump in form as speculation about his future intensified," it adds.