The media focus on Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has once more shifted away from his burgeoning ability to play football in what is becoming a season of distractions.
Having already had to put up with club and country controversies, commercial commitments and car insurance-related court call-ups, his contract situation has come under the spotlight causing speculation over his future.
England international Sterling was moved to discuss the matter with BBC Sport correspondent Natalie Pirks, in an effort to set the record straight over why he has yet to sign a rumoured £100,000-a-week deal.
“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.”
“I don’t want to be perceived as a money-grabbing 20-year-old.”
With so many distractions to deal with, it’s a wonder that he has found time to contribute six goals and seven assists to Liverpool’s league cause as the below graphic indicates.
First his decision to withdraw from the England squad with fatigue in October was greeted with widespread derision, that he hardly helped by being pictured in a London club at 3AM, hours after arriving back into the country.
That tiredness was clearly in evidence two months later when he was fined £600 for ‘failing to meet insurance requirements’ on one of his fleet of motor cars.
It was a little wonder he needed a winter break in Jamaica by December having started all bar one of the previous 19 league games.
Now doubt the spectre of his wooden performance alongside Simon Mignolet and Jordan Henderson in the Nivea deodorant advert was still impinging on his calm as the Carribean seas lapped his toes.
Given such a season of distractions set against post-Luis Suarez fears over the viability of Liverpool’s Champions League ambitions Sterling could be forgiven a dip in form.
Yet he has seldom succumbed and can be backed at 3/1 to score against Arsenal when Liverpool visit the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime.