Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has emerged as a potential transfer target for Barcelona, according to reports.
Sterling has just helped City to the Premier League title, providing 10 goals and seven assists from 31 appearances. He also had one goal and two assists on their route to the Champions League final. His place in the England squad for Euro 2020 was secure despite a dip in form towards the end of the season.
But his long-term future at City has come into question recently. After losing the Champions League final, there has been talk of a minor rebuild at the club this summer. Sterling has been mentioned as one of the players who could make way.
For example, there was speculation that City could offer him to Tottenham as a makeweight for Harry Kane. But Spurs have little interest in doing a deal on such terms.
Sterling was also linked with a move to Tottenham’s north London rivals, Arsenal, as part of a double transfer alongside Riyad Mahrez. That would seem out of their budget, though.
Instead, Sterling’s future may take him abroad. Real Madrid have been suggested as one suitor, but now their El Clasico rivals Barcelona are also said to be eyeing the 26-year-old.
According to Sport, Barca have identified Sterling as a possible replacement for Ousmane Dembele. The Frenchman is out of contract next summer, so his club are expected to cash in on the 2018 World Cup winner. That will then leave a space in their squad that Sterling could fill.
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Barcelona have been working on cheaper deals so far this summer due to their financial situation. For example, they have already signed Sterling’s former City teammates Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia on free transfers.
But it is claimed that they have raised enough money to pursue one big signing, and that could be Sterling.
However, they are aware that he will still have a large price tag despite City being willing to move him on. They could send some players in the opposite direction to sweeten the deal.
Any operation of the sort would likely have to wait until after the Euros, where Sterling will be on duty.
Barcelona set Dembele price
The update follows reports from the same source that Dembele will likely be sold this summer.
Barcelona wanted to extend his contract, but he is yet to show any interest in signing a new deal. With time ticking, they are now ready to change their plans.
The La Liga giants will try to sell the wide man for somewhere between €50m and €60m during this transfer window. That would be a steep decline on what they paid for him in 2017, but it is a reflection of his contractual situation, injury issues and lack of regular football.
Dembele started exactly half of Barca’s 38 La Liga games last season as they finished in third place.
Coincidentally, he has been linked with a move to the Premier League. City’s title rivals Liverpool and neighbours Manchester United are potential suitors.