Danny Higginbotham has told Sports Mole that the reported £49m fee Manchester City have agreed to pay for Raheem Sterling is "absurd".
However, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed earlier today that his club had now accepted an offer from the Etihad Stadium for the 20-year-old, which would make him the most expensive English player of all time.
Yet, former Manchester United and Stoke City defender Higginbotham has insisted that Sterling has much more to prove before he should command such a hefty price tag.
"You pay a premium for English players, but it's an absurd amount of money. Sterling is a good player, but the top players that I've played against over the years, they made an ordinary team look good - they stand out. Steven Gerrard over the years carried Liverpool, so did Luis Suarez and Bryan Robson at Manchester United. These players dragged their teams along," said the 36-year-old.
"They are the players you spend that type of money on. Sterling is a decent player, but £49m is excessive. Liverpool have got the better end of the deal and not because Sterling is not a good player, the sum is just ludicrous.
"Can Sterling drag a team through games in the future? That's the thing - if I'm spending £49m on a player, I want to know that he can do that. If someone said at 26 or 27, can Steven Gerrard drag a team over the finishing line, yes he could. The likes of Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs have done it over the years - that's the sort of player that should be commanding such a big fee. Sterling could be that player, but '£49m' and 'possibly' should not come into the same sentence.
"He had a fantastic season at Liverpool a couple of years ago, but let's not forget he had Gerrard pulling the strings behind him and Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. He does have those players at Man City, but it's too much money for a player that is not proven to be a consistent match winner. They'll be times next season when City aren't playing well - can Sterling win them the game? That's the big question mark over him."
There have been suggestions that Sterling could complete his switch to East Manchester as early as tomorrow.