Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola this morning answered questions regarding the possibility that winger Raheem Sterling could make a surprise exit from the Etihad.
English international Sterling has long been regarded as one of the most talented youngsters in the Premier League, with the hefty sum (around £49 million including bonuses) splashed out by Man City to bring the blistering attacker to the Etihad from Liverpool in 2015 having showcased just how highly he was (and still is) thought of on the blue half of Manchester.
However, despite his immense potential, Sterling was often criticised in the past for his poor final ball and lack of composure in front of goal.
This season, though, has seen the 23-year-old put such failings firmly behind him, under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola.
Incredibly, Sterling has managed to find the net on 20 occasions across all competitions for City, blitzing his previous best return of 12 for an entire season.
He has also racked up 7 assists to go along with his hefty goal tally, leading to a widespread belief that Sterling has finally fulfilled his potential and established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest players.
‘Deals are deals’
As is the case with any player plying his trade at a top club across Europe, Sterling’s stellar recent form has seen the 37-time capped international inevitably linked with a Man City departure throughout the campaign, with Spanish and European champions Real Madrid touted as a potential destination in the media.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his side’s Premier League meeting with Everton this evening, City boss Pep Guardiola was questioned on Sterling’s future at the club, amid rumours that the Citizens are currently attempting to tie the wide-man down to a new deal.
And Guardiola, rarely one for mincing words, admitted that while it is crucial for the Sky Blues to hold onto Sterling, that the interest of other clubs in his services means that there are no certainties regarding the Englishman’s future at the Etihad:
‘No doubt, it is so important [to keep Sterling]. But the deals are the deals. The agents, circumstances, maybe other clubs are interested in him.’
‘In terms of contracts I’m not the guy, it’s Txiki [Begiristain, the director of football] that is talking about that.’