Reports: Manchester City set to reignite contract talks with Raheem Sterling
Reports this afternoon from Mike McGrath in The Telegraph suggest that Manchester City are set to step up their attempt to re-sign Raheem Sterling to a long-term contract extension after his long-awaited return to goalscoring form.
The 26-year-old has seen his contract negotiations turn into somewhat of a saga, with persistent rumours of a move to Barcelona, combined with last months report of wanting assurances from Pep Guardiola around playtime.
After a polarizing season that saw him lose his starting spot during Manchester City’s run to the Champions League final, as well as an impressive run of form during the Euros, it’s been difficult to predict which version of Raheem Sterling will show up for City. However, after a 10-week scoring drought, the senior England forward has found the back of the net in his last three club appearances.
Over the past month, Sterling has seen significant minutes on the right side of the front three, especially against Everton and Club Brugge, scoring in both matches. Sterling has been deployed on both flanks during the Guardiola era, but initially found success when played out wide on the right side.
With less than two years left on his deal, it is understandable why Txiki Begiristain and Pep would now want to lock down Sterling. While City have rarely been forced to sell top players during the Guardiola era, they have developed a knack for not generating significant transfer fees for when they eventually do leave, especially in the case of Leroy Sane and Angelino.
At first, a move to Barcelona seemed unlikely due to Barcelona’s dire financial situation. However, McGrath’s report confirms that Xavi is an admirer of the England international, and would be interested in a January move for Sterling if he is affordable. Other reports out of Spain have divulged more info into the Catalan club’s plans. With the emergence of Pedri and Gavi, there is speculation that Frankie De Jong could be made available and used in a swap deal. But Rodri’s continued stretch of excellent form has likely tempered City’s interest in their original Fernandinho replacement.
With Riyad Mahrez likely to miss the entire month of January due to the African Cup of Nations, it's unlikely City will want to part with another starter, especially one with Sterling’s flexibility. However, only time will tell if the Kingston-born attacker will stay in Manchester in the coming years.
Written by: @IVIeehan
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