The 26-year-old’s future at the Etihad looks increasingly uncertain after being voted out of a leadership role at the club by players and staff as well as continued desire from the forward to play abroad
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling’s future at the Etihad could be short-lived after increased interest from Barcelona, who could look to sign the star in the January transfer window.
Rather surprisingly, the 26-year-old’s place in the starting XI is no longer a guarantee despite previously being dubbed as one of Pep Guardiola’s untouchable stars as the City boss has favoured the likes of Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez more.
With his future at the club uncertain, a move abroad is seemingly all the more likely, especially taking into account Sterling’s interview with Bleacher Report in 2019 which expressed his desire to one day play in a foreign league.
During the interview, Sterling gushed over the prospect of playing in a foreign country and confirmed that it had always been a dream of his.
“Ever since I was a kid, 100 per cent it’s always been a dream of mine to play abroad somewhere,” he said.
“It would be nice one day to finish training and go home and sit in your garden and eat some dinner. I would need to see where it’s minimum 17C or 18C constantly.”
And Sky Sport Italia reporter Matteo Moretto has now claimed that the Spanish giants have had perpetual interest in the wide midfielder and would not rule out a signing in the near future.
“Barca already knew in June that Raheem Sterling could and would want to leave Manchester City. The Cules have been considering this option for months and continue to evaluate it. The interest is still there,” Moretto said in the tweet.
Despite a prolific summer at the Euros, the wide midfielder has only made one appearance so far this season for the Citizens, which was a 72nd minute substitution in a 6-3 victory over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
After Sterling’s exceptional form at the Euros, which saw the Manchester City star net four goals as England reached their first major tournament final since 1966, it’s no wonder many clubs will be sniffing around the Etihad to entice a signature out of the wide midfielder.
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In addition to a lack of game time, Sterling was also recently voted out of a Manchester City leadership role by players and staff who ruled in favour of replacing the 26-year-old with Portuguese centre-back Ruben Dias.
According to Spanish news site Sport, the Catalans’ director of football Mateu Alemany had even flown to Manchester to discuss bringing Sterling to the Nou Camp.
But given the severity of Barcelona’s ongoing financial difficulties, it is likely that the signing of Sterling would come at the sacrifice of one of the Catalonian side’s other star players in an exchange, with names such as Antonie Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele being considered for a swap.
But despite expressing his interest in playing abroad at some stage in his career, Sterling did affirm in his 2019 interview with Bleacher Report that he was happy at City and wasn’t considering a move.
“Looking at it now, it’s like, Manchester, I love it. I love it here,” he said. “This is one of the best clubs in the world and I’m here for the long haul.
“But you just don’t know what happens in the future. I’m still young and, like I say, I am loving every minute.”
Sterling first moved to the Etihad during the summer of 2015 from Liverpool in a deal worth £49m and has since become one of the core members of the squad.
Coming to Manchester as a precocious 20-year-old, Sterling has gone on to win three Premier League titles, five League Cups, one FA Cup as well as being a key member of the squad that reached the Champions League final last season.
He has made 297 appearances for the club, scoring 115 goals and contributing 88 assists.