EXCLUSIVE | By Merseyside correspondent Cam Downes

Manchester City are preparing a third bid for Raheem Sterling that they are confident will clinch a deal for the Liverpool star, Football Insider sources understand.

City have had two offers for Sterling rejected by the Merseysiders, the first of £30m a fortnight ago and the second worth £40m last week.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team are set to return this week with a third bid this week for the England international that could come close to matching Liverpool’s £50m valuation.

City are confident that Sterling wants to move to Etihad Stadium and will make what is expected to be a final offer for the 20-year-old.

The attacking midfielder has two years remaining on his £35,000-a-week contract but he has made it clear that he will not sign a new Liverpool deal and that he wants to leave Anfield this summer.

Liverpool have publicly insisted they will not cash in on their prize asset but their private stance is that they would reluctantly agree to do business if their £50m price tag is met.

The player’s relationship with the club and the wider fanbase has deteriorated as a result of his contract stand-off and comments made by both Sterling and his agent Aidy Ward.

City are willing to pay over the odds for Sterling partly because they need more home-grown players to meet Uefa regulations following the departures of James Milner, Micah Richards and Frank Lampard.

Liverpoool would have to pay 20% of any fee to Sterling’s former club Queens Park Rangers.