Chelsea growing confident of signing Raheem Sterling from Man City but he will cost more than £35m
Reports on Sunday have intensely linked Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling with a move to Premier League rivals Chelsea, as the player seeks regular game time, having entered the prime years of his career.
This morning, it was reported by Italian journalist Di Marzio that Chelsea were now confident of closing a deal to sign Sterling from the Premier League champions for a transfer fee that could amount to around £35 million.
Instantly, this raised eyebrows as a £35 million transfer fee seemed under value for a player with over 100 Premier League goals, four league titles, five League Cups, two Community Shields, an FA Cup, and 77 England caps – even with only a year remaining on his current contract.
City are understood to value Gabriel Jesus, who appears likely to move to Arsenal this summer, at around £50 million, with a year remaining on his deal; so a £35 million fee for Sterling did appear unrealistic from the get-go before even factoring in the potential of selling a homegrown player to a direct domestic rival.
Ben Ransom of Sky Sports would follow up on Di Marzio's claims by reporting that Chelsea's interest in the player was there but that it would take a fee nearer £60 million for City to do a deal this summer.
Simon Johnson of The Athletic then reported Chelsea's growing confidence in signing the 27-year-old and revealed that one Chelsea source believes the only stumbling to a deal being completed is the size of the potential fee demanded by City.
Johnson reports that the senior England international, who grew up in London, has been talking to individuals about what life is like at Chelsea and how Thomas Tuchel is as a manager.
The west London club appear willing to allow Romelu Lukaku to rejoin Inter Milan on loan, so it comes as no surprise that they considering their attacking options, with reports in previous weeks having linked them with a move for Gabriel Jesus.
Whether Chelsea get close to the City valuation of Sterling remains to be seen, as an outlay of £ 50 million-plus on a player with a year left on his deal is a significant outlay for any club.
Should City lose Jesus and Sterling in the same window, their wing options become limited to Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer, the incoming Julian Alvarez – who is predominantly a striker, and Riyad Mahrez, who is expected to stay for the forthcoming campaign despite entering the final year of his deal himself.
All remaining options have qualities in their own right, but none possess the blistering pace of Sterling and represent different profiles of attacking wide talent. Despite this, as confirmed by Sam Lee of The Athletic, the club have no current intention of signing a replacement winger should Sterling leave, and there is reportedly a firm intention to play Palmer more next season.
Matt Law of The Telegraph would follow up reporting with information that Chelsea plan to make decisions on which attacking players to make firm bids for following the expected departure of Lukaku to Inter Milan, with Sterling among their targets.
Law reports that Tuchel's side are yet to open any talks with City, who will demand between £50 million and £60 million, or discuss how much they may be prepared to pay for the winger's services.
So while Sterling could leave, it is highly likely Chelsea or any interested party would have to fork out in excess of £50 million, and whether they actually have an appetite to do for a player that will be a free agent next summer remains to be seen.
Written by: @NA1907_
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