Raheem Sterling has confirmed he has rejected an offer of a new contract from Liverpool worth £100,000 a week. Ahead of the club's trip to the Emirates on 4 April, the England international also admits he is flattered to be linked with a move to Arsenal.
Sterling and Liverpool have been locked in a contract stalemate for much of the season with manager Brendan Rodgers revealing earlier in 2015 that the club had made the 20-year-old an "incredible" offer. But Sterling insists the stand-off is not linked to what he would be paid and he will hold off on fresh talks until the end of the season.
"It's not about the money at all," Sterling told BBC Sport. "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, who arrived on Merseyside from Queens Park Rangers in 2010, enjoyed his remarkable rise last season, where he firmly established himself as one of Liverpool's most important players. And the forward, who is currently on a deal worth £35,000 per week, insists he would have eagerly accepted the club's current offer last season.
"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 impasse between Sterling and Liverpool has inevitably sparked speculation of a move away from Anfield, with Manchester City and Real Madrid among the clubs credited with the strongest interest.
"I try to kill it off, but I don't think the public can see it that way," Sterling said. "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."
Of reports linking him with a move to Arsenal, Sterling describes the interest as "flattering" but will strive to perform at his highest level when the two clubs meet in north London.
"I try to just block everything out and do well," he said. "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."