Pep Guardiola put his foot down when asked about the ongoing uncertainty over Raheem Sterling, and confirmed a major Manchester City star has tested positive for Covid-19.
Precisely where Sterling will play his football past January is as yet unknown. The forward previously told the Guardian he would be open to moving if it led to more guaranteed game-time elsewhere.
Barcelona have been linked with a loan deal with a view to a permanent move further down the line. From an English perspective, both Arsenal and Liverpool have drawn tentative links.
However, Guardiola refused to be drawn into the speculation when asked about Sterling’s future on Friday. Instead, he put his foot down and demanded he not be asked about the 26-year-old’s future until the transfer window officially opens.
“Don’t ask me from now on until the transfer window is open because I’m not going to answer them,” retorted Guardiola (via the Manchester Evening News).
“Mine and Raheem’s focus is on the games, I’m not going to answer any questions about what’s going to happen in the future because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The last two Premier League campaigns have seen the victors emerge with whopping 18 and 12-point margins. This season looks like it could be a much closer race, and Guardiola admitted it is becoming increasingly difficult to win in England.
“Every season looks more difficult but we’re still in the first quarter, many games ahead of us,” said Pep.
“In general we’ve put in good performances, dropped some points at home because we weren’t at our level. Now until January there’s no international break we’re together. Hopefully we can get results, in the Champions League, and challenge for the title.”
Man City facing triple absence v Everton
City take on Everton at 2pm on Sunday. Guardiola could be without as many as three of his regular forwards for the contest after providing an update on his belaughed front line. Kevin de Bruyne is one confirmed absence after the Belgian tested positive for Covid-19 during the international break.
The Spaniard said: “We have Jack [Grealish] getting better after he went to the national team.
“Phil Foden came back with a knock and a problem in his leg, but he is getting better. And unfortunately Kevin got a positive Covid test in Belgium and needs ten days. Jack, I don’t think so [will be available]. Phil we will see.”
Guardiola then put football matters into perspective when wishing De Bruyne a speedy recovery.
“We found out two days ago, he is here,” added Pep. “Forget about fitness and momentum, he is positive now he has to recover.
“We have to be careful, people are dying from Covid. He is vaccinated so hopefully he will be okay. There is no concern about rhythm it’s about the human being.”