In Depth

Raheem Sterling: will he be the new Collymore or Carroll?

The title of most expensive English footballer is not always a guarantee of success, for the player or his club

It is 36 years since Trevor Francis became the first £1m footballer, when he moved from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest, and 20 years ago the title of England's most expensive footballer was held by Stan Collymore who had just moved from Forest to Liverpool for a meagre £8.5m.

Since then the title of most-expensive English footballer has changed hands several times as transfer fees have gone through the roof. The title is now held by Raheem Sterling, who has joined Man City from Liverpool for a fee of £49m.

But what happened to those who held the title over the past 20 years?

Stan Collymore: £8.5m, Nottingham Forest to Liverpool, 1995

The striker seemed destined for a long career at the top after scoring 41 goals in 65 games for Forest, and things started well at Liverpool as he scored on his debut.

Despite being one of the most talented footballers England had produced for a generation things turned sour for Collymore and he left the Reds after two seasons. In 1998 he hit the front pages after punching his then girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson in a Paris bar.

He retired in 2001 with just three England caps to his name, but has since carved out a successful media career.

Alan Shearer: £15m, Blackburn to Newcastle, 1996

A year after Liverpool smashed the transfer record, Newcastle spent a staggering £15m on local lad Alan Shearer, who had won the Premier League with Blackburn and propelled England to the Euro 96 semi-finals.

His decision to pick Newcastle over Manchester United made him a hero to the Magpies fans, and he scored 206 goals for the club over ten years. But his decision to play for his hometown club also cost him the chance of winning any more silverware.

Rio Ferdinand: £18m, West Ham to Leeds, 2000

Leeds made 21-year-old Ferdinand the most expensive defender in the world when they paid West Ham £18m for his services in 2000. He helped guide them to a Champions League semi-final in 2002 but he left for Manchester United that summer as the Yorkshire club's financial profligacy came back to haunt them.

Leeds may have made £10m on the deal, but they failed to make the most of it, and have not played in the Premier League since 2004.

Rio Ferdinand: £29.1m, Leeds to Manchester United, 2002

This move turned out rather better for all concerned as the defender won everything he possibly could during 12 successful years at the club.

Ferdinand held the record for the most expensive English player for over a decade, and became regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

Andy Carroll: £35m, Newcastle to Liverpool, 2011

Sterling's arrival at Man City at least removes a millstone from around the neck of Geordie striker Carroll, who moved from Newcastle to Liverpool for a staggering fee of £35m in January 2011, on the day that the Reds sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea.

Worryingly for Man City fans, there are similarities between Carroll and Sterling. They may not look very similar, but they have comparable records. Carroll joined Liverpool at the age of 22 after 80 games and one impressive season for Newcastle, while Sterling has managed 95 games for Liverpool over three seasons, only one of which can be classed as a success.

In two years at Liverpool Carroll managed just six goals and was offloaded to West Ham for just £15m in 2013.

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