Manchester City are planning to ward Barcelona and Real Madrid off Raheem Sterling by re-entering contract talks with him, according to a report.
Sterling hit 14 goals in all competitions last term as City lifted the Premier League title, won the Carabao Cup and reached the Champions League final. His record for the current campaign stands at nine goals in 27 outings, putting the England winger on 23 strikes over the last two seasons.
Sterling lost his place in Pep Guardiola’s starting lineup in August, leading to rumours of unrest in the star’s camp.
Barcelona and Real Madrid both put their name down as potential suitors. Sterling was asked about their interest in November and said he ‘would be open’ to moving abroad.
The 27-year-old is back in Guardiola’s plans and had an electric run in December, getting on the scoresheet five times in as many Premier League matches.
But Barcelona and Real Madrid still believe they can complete a statement swoop on the Citizens, forcing the Manchester club into action.
Sterling and City put contract renewal talks on hold while he was out of the starting eleven. But according to ESPN, negotiations are set to restart.
City, Raheem Sterling remain ‘relaxed’
The wide man’s current terms expire in 2023 and City are keen to extend before he enters the final 12 months of his deal.
All parties remain ‘relaxed’ about the situation, and a breakthrough could occur in the next few months.
Sterling is likely to pen a new contract, although he still holds the dream of playing abroad one day.
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ESPN throw a new name into the mix for his services – Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 leaders could pursue Raheem Sterling if Kylian Mbappe leaves for Madrid in the summer.
City have already lost Spanish forward Ferran Torres following his £46.3m switch to Barca at the start of the January window. That move saw City earn a £25.5m profit on Torres after just one and a half years at the Etihad.
Paul Merson gives Jack Grealish advice
Meanwhile, Jack Grealish has been told how he must adapt his game to ensure his £100m move to City isn’t written off as a bad one.
When asked about the attacker on Sky Sports, pundit Paul Merson said: “I didn’t think it would be a walk in the park for Jack Grealish at Manchester City, but it’s been hard for him so far. We’re talking about a player who whenever Aston Villa got the ball, they looked for him; it was like, ‘give the ball to Jack’.
“That isn’t the case at City. It’s pass and move, pass and move. Instead of passing the ball to Grealish, the full-backs at City pass it inside; that would never happen at Villa.”
Merson, formerly of Villa himself, continued: “Jack seems to be chasing the game every time I watch him play; he’s always trying to do something special to prove why he was bought for £100m.
“It’s been hard for him and things haven’t worked out for him at City yet. Sometimes the grass is not always greener.
“He was at a club, a big club in Aston Villa, he was the big fish and touched the ball as many times as he wanted to touch it. He’s just not touching the ball as much at City, and that is the problem.
“Let’s be honest, he’s one of the best dribblers we’ve seen. He’s a joy to watch, but we’re not seeing that Jack Grealish at Manchester City because they don’t play that way.”