Raheem Sterling was England’s golden boy in Euro 2020, scoring their first goals and making the international stage his own. In club football however, he has been out of favour with manager Pep Guardiola only starting him in one game so far this season.
“If there was the opportunity to go somewhere else (for more game time), I would be open to it,” Sterling, 26, said. “At this moment in time football is the most important thing to me”
Guardiola is a manager with many world class players at his disposal and is known to do a so called ‘Pep Roulette’ with his team each week. With Jack Grealish also signing for Manchester City for a record £100m has further increased the intensity for starting spots in the forward position at City, although, with Ferran Torres being out for a month due to a fractured foot, Sterling may work his way back into favour with his boss.
Guardiola did however state last month that: “Our incredible successes over the last few seasons would have been impossible without Raheem.
“He is such an important player, he reaches incredibly high standards and I have to tell him those are the standards he has to keep for himself and the team and I am sure he will return to that. I am optimistic he will have a very good season.”
Sterling joined City from Liverpool in 2015 for £49m. With his contract running out within the next 18 months, it is thought that he won’t extend unless he is guaranteed the playing time, he feels he deserves.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Sterling also said that “all he knows is the Premier League” which highlights his interest for a new challenge elsewhere. This could be due to his recent lack of game time or he may feel as if he has outgrown the Premier League.
Another factor to consider in Sterling’s case is the fact that Manchester City don’t have an out and out striker after letting Sergio Aguero go in the summer. They made multiple attempts to sign strikers in the summer such as Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo but neither of those moves ended up materialising.
There have been rumours that Manchester City will try and put everything into getting Erling Haaland in the summer but only time will tell if they can agree to a deal to sign Dortmund’s key man. In order to do this, City would have to sell some of their players so that they could afford to sign him. If they didn’t then not only would they be overloaded with forwards but they’d make more than one player unhappy.
Who could afford Sterling if he chose to move is the question most people will have.
By next summer he will have less than a year left on his contract which will significantly decrease the asking price that City will have for him as they won’t want to lose him on a free.
Buying clubs could wait until January 2023 and get straight into contract talks with him. A number of super-clubs could be in the running for him such as Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
It won’t come as a surprise to most fans that Sterling wants to leave due to his lack of game time as he is in prime years of his career. It’s also known that there have been problems with Guardiola and Sterling’s relationship throughout the years he’s managed City such as his obvious decline in form towards the end of last season and the fact that he was left out of City’s team following the 2-0 loss to Manchester United in the league in March.
Things then escalated from there with the City boss even leaving him out of the squad altogether.
Sterling also said whilst speaking to The Financial Times that “From being a young child, football has been the most important thing in my life, my most happiest I should say.
“If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”