LONDON: Manchester City have confirmed officially the signing of England forward Raheem Sterling from Liverpool for 49m.

The 20-year-old, who will wear the number seven shirt, has become the club’s record signing and the most expensive English footballer.

A statement released on the club’s official website said: “Manchester City are delighted to announce Raheem Sterling has joined the club on a five-year deal.

“The 20-year-old England international’s transfer is a club record fee for an English player and he also becomes City’s record signing.”

The announcement came on Tuesday evening after Sterling had passed a medical and completed the remaining formalities of the deal, and he will fly out to meet up with his new team-mates in Australia within the next 24 hours.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini was delighted to finally get his hands on the player after a prolonged pursuit.

He said: “Raheem Sterling is one of the best attacking players in world football and I am very much looking forward to him joining our squad out in Australia later this week. He is a young player with outstanding ability and I am sure the Manchester City fans will be very excited about seeing him in action for the team.”

Sterling’s departure from Anfield was also confirmed by Liverpool in an announcement on their official website.

It said: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm Raheem Sterling has completed a transfer to Manchester City. The 20-year-old departs Anfield after 129 appearances and 23 goals for the Reds. Liverpool FC wishes Raheem well.”

City’s interest in Sterling has been an open secret for some time, but the Reds were desperate to retain his services as they braced themselves for an approach.

However, they were fighting a losing battle from the moment he told boss Brendan Rodgers he wanted to leave following his return for pre-season training, and his request not to be included in the party for the club’s pre-season trip to Australia and the Far East sparked claims of a bust-up, something the Jamaica-born attacking midfielder’s camp has strenuously denied.

Liverpool rejected a series of offers from City as they held out for their #50million valuation of their prize asset, but the two clubs eventually reached agreement and proceedings moved on swiftly with both now well into their preparations for the new campaign.

Sterling began his career at QPR and joined the Reds for an initial fee of #600,000 as a 15-year-old in 2010.

He was handed a senior debut as a 17-year-old and was twice named the club’s young Player of the year.

Sterling will now face the prospect of competing with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Wilfried Bony, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas and David Silva at the spearhead of a City side which finished a distant second to Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea last season.