Raheem Sterling would be pitched different roles if he was to join Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal, a journalist claims – and he could be leaning towards the former.
Sterling will be a key player to keep an eye on in the summer transfer window. His contract with Manchester City is only due to run until 2023. A decision from the club over a potential extension will only come in the summer.
By then, he could be considering a future elsewhere. Indeed, he has already opened the door to a transfer abroad at some stage of his career. But there are still Premier League clubs keeping him on their radars.
For example, he has been linked with Arsenal, who are aiming to replenish their attack for the new season. What’s more, they could be in the Champions League by then.
The main team trying to stop them is their north London rivals Tottenham. And it has now emerged that Spurs are also battling them for the services of Sterling.
That’s according to journalist Ben Jacobs, who works for CBS Sports and has been speaking to The Gooner Talk about Arsenal’s pursuit of Sterling.
Per the reporter, Sterling would have different roles to play for either of his suitors. Arsenal see him as a wide man and Tottenham want him to be a goalscorer.
With that in mind, he is leaning towards the white side of north London.
Jacobs said: “Sterling is an interesting one, because I do think the door is open for [him] to leave Manchester City, and I think there will almost be a north London derby-style pursuit for Sterling.
The future of Raheem Sterling will be decided at the end of the season
Manchester City will make a decision over the future of Raheem Sterling at the end of the season
“From what I gather, should he leave Manchester City, Tottenham are ahead of Arsenal in that particular pursuit. So if Sterling is to join Arsenal then Edu and [Mikel] Arteta are going to have to move quite quickly.
“I think Sterling is very intent, even though he knows Arteta very well, to play under [Antonio] Conte as his next manager if he is to make a move. The reason for that is that Tottenham have given him guarantees about style and about position.
Raheem Sterling knows what each role takes
“Sterling feels that under [Pep] Guardiola as he’s aged he’s kind of done a full loop of what’s required of him. He’s gone from kind of wide, to forward, to almost a false 9, to focal point, to box-to-box, to wide again, to forward again.
“He’s been relied upon for goals and then moved back to something that’s a bit more selfless. Then he’s aged a little bit, maybe lost a bit of pace and confidence.
“If you look at his full cycle as a footballer, he had everything except the finishing. And then there was a point at Manchester City where he suddenly couldn’t stop scoring goals. Now he’s a bit more hit and miss, and he’s playing a bit less often as there’s lots of different players in that position.
“Tottenham’s pitch [to him] is, ‘let’s get you back to doing what you do best,’ which is scoring goals. Arsenal’s pitch is going to be, ‘let’s get you back to what you did at the beginning of your career’ which is being a very fluid, very versatile wide player who cuts inside.
“So actually I think this is about development and what direction he’s going to head. I don’t think Arteta and Arsenal are prepared to tell Sterling he would join the football club and be relied upon as the main source of goals.”
Sterling has scored 130 times from 337 games for Manchester City since joining them from Liverpool in 2015.