Former England captain Rio Ferdinand feels Raheem Sterling is being held back by a lack of playing time at Manchester City and rival clubs should be lining up to buy him.
Sterling first emerged as a serious talent when at Liverpool and City came calling in the summer of 2015. The Jamaican-born ace has taken his game to another level at the Etihad Stadium by becoming a prolific goalscorer. The 26-year-old has bagged 79 from 200 Premier League appearances while notching 115 in all competitions.
After scoring 31 times in 2019-2020, his tally dropped to 14 last term. And the talented winger has found the net on just one occasion to date in 2021-2022.
City chief Pep Guardiola has chosen to use him sparingly, with only two top-flight starts. He has come off the bench three times and Ferdinand believes that is the main reason why he is struggling.
“It’s only because he’s been taken out of the team that he’s lost confidence,” he said on his Vibe with Five show. “He was on fire. He was producing.
“This guy was the go-to guy when they needed a goal for so many years. All of a sudden, he’s in the wilderness. I’m just baffled by it; I don’t understand it.”
Sterling has been linked with a winter loan move away. A report over the weekend claimed Barcelona had already begun talks over a January move in the summer.
It remains to be seen if that is the case. But if he is allowed to leave, Ferdinand is adamant that the man with 18 England goals will not be short of suitors.
“But this is the thing with Pep [Guardiola], he gets it right more often than not, but with this one with Sterling,” he added.
“There must be clubs sitting there going, ‘boy, let me see how this situation pans out because I will take Sterling all day’.
“If I’m Liverpool, I’m buying Sterling tomorrow.”
Rumours continue over Sterling future
A report by The Athletic back in July suggested Sterling would be sold in the summer to fund City’s move for Harry Kane. Neither of those things happened as the England skipper remained in north London.
He has looked way below his best for Spurs this term amid reports he still wants to leave. The Citizens could not afford him during the summer but Sterling’s possible exit would provide much-needed funds for any potential future deal.
He still has two years left on his contract with the north-west giants. And it was reported during the summer that talks over an extension had begun.
Nothing has materialised to date and Sport have claimed that Sterling is keen on a move to the Nou Camp.