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Raheem Sterling is the latest Manchester City player to be linked with a transfer away from the Etihad this summer as reports on Sunday suggested Chelsea were confident of securing his signing.

Sky Italy reported that Sterling could join Chelsea for as little as £35m, but Sky Sports in the UK offered a prospective transfer fee of closer to the £60m region.

In response, bookmakers cut the chances of Sterling moving to Stamford Bridge to odds-on, and Sterling’s previous comments could support a desire for a transfer away.

However, Sterling has remained consistent in outlining what he wants moving forward whenever discussing his future, with his current City contract expiring in 2023.

At the start of the 2021/22 season, Sterling found himself out of form and out of the City team, prompting talk of a potential move away as the England international remained clear that he wanted regular games.

In fact, in October 2021, he publicly declared his openness to leaving City in search of games as he told the Financial Times:

I’m not a person that’s going to complain. I’ve not tried to make it a bigger deal than it actually is. I get on with my work, do what I need to do. And I’m just raring to go — playing football matches regularly, score goals regularly.

From being a young child, football has been the most important thing in my life, my most happiest I should say.

When I play football that is where I get my happiness from. And of course with family as well but football for me has a special place in my heart. With everything that comes with football, money, being able to do nice things, at the end of the day if football for me is not at a certain standard I’m not really at my happiest.

If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself. If there was the opportunity to go somewhere else for more game time I would be open to it at this moment in time.

As I said, football is the most important thing to me — challenges that I have set myself from a young age and dreams as well.

The comments made headlines as they were seen as a message to Pep Guardiola and City that if Sterling wasn’t given the game time he wanted then they risked losing him this summer.

Since then, though, Sterling put his money where his mouth was and earned his place back in the team, playing a key role in another Premier League title success. Towards the end of the season, when the topic of his future came up again, Sterling continued to suggest that playing games will be key to deciding where his future lies.

He said before City’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid:

At the minute I’m just happy to be playing, happy to be contributing with the team.

I think that’s the most important thing. At this period, I think it would be selfish of me to speak of any contract situation and I’m just happy to be playing football and see where we are at the end of the season.

As a player and forward, to be playing and scoring and making assists, contributing to the team is a massive thing. That’s where you get your confidence from and at the moment I’m happy to have a part with the team and try to contribute as much as I can.

I’m playing and contributing a lot more to the team this season. And yeah, I mean a good mood, a good spirit. The football club’s in a semi-final for Champions League we’re fighting for a title. There’s not much more I can ask for. So yeah, a great spirit.

It’s a team full of competition. It’s the competition that makes you thrive and once you’re performing you just want to keep playing if you’re scoring, they can assist you, win a game or whatever. You may just want to keep playing and sometimes you have to come to understand that this is a lot of players in the team.

So if City can’t guarantee those games, it would support the talk of Sterling leaving. However, Chelsea may be disappointed as Sterling has previously spoken of a desire to play in other leagues away from the English top flight.

In his October comments, he said:

As an English player all I know is the Premier League and I’ve always thought you know maybe one day I’d love to play abroad to see how I would come up against that challenge.

And the last time Guardiola spoke about Sterling’s contract situation, the manager distanced himself from negotiations but said he would like to keep the winger.

Guardiola said in February:

Nobody doubts how important it is. He has shown it. What I want is for tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, he and all the players play well.

If we count the amount of games he has played since we are together, it’s a lot. He was a key player. In the future I don’t know what’s going to happen, because the club decides. The club all the time. When they extend the player contracts, I give my opinion but the club takes the decisions all the time.

What I want is the best for the players. I’m really pleased if they are happy but contracts are not my business. I’ve never been involved.


By Amara

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