Raheem Sterling open to Manchester City exit as he seeks more game time
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Manchester City will agree to let Raheem Sterling leave on loan in January providing they get a replacement through the door first, according to reports in Spain. The England international is said to be frustrated with his time on the bench this season at the Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola still refusing to make promises to any of his City stars when minutes are concerned.
The Spaniard provided some surprising detail on Sterling’s situation recently when he said the winger is still yet to confront him regarding his game time.
Guardiola then referenced that fellow City stars Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez are the first to knock on his door when they are not on the team sheet.
The comments come in light of Sterling’s open assessment of his City future when he revealed that he would be willing to explore a new challenge in the near future if he still wasn’t playing regularly.
“If there was the option to go somewhere else for more game time I would be open to it. As I said football is the most important thing to me,” he said.
“Challenges that I have set myself from a young age and dreams as well. 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. See how I would come up against that challenge.”
Barcelona could offer him that chance with new manager Xavi set to embark on a rebuild project in Catalonia.
He is looking to switch back to Barca’s favoured 4-3-3 system and the new manager needs another winger to help with the transition.
According to the print edition of today’s Mundo Deportivo, Barca are keen on Sterling and City would be willing to let him leave on an initial loan deal – with an option to buy – permitting they get a replacement signed in January.
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While City are already stacked with attacking options, they do not want to weaken their squad before it gets stronger as they bid to defend the Premier League title.
The 26-year-old has started just three of City’s 11 Premier League matches this season, netting just one goal.
Arsenal and Tottenham were linked earlier this summer but neither were able to strike a deal.
Barcelona are now nicely positioned to sign Sterling if he was to leave City but they would need to clear out some of the deadwood currently at the club in order to do so.
The likes of Neto, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, Martin Braithwaite and Luuk De Jong have all reportedly been deemed surplus to requirements at Barca.
Xavi will be hoping the board can raise some funds from the six transfer-listed stars in January in order to strengthen his squad.
Meanwhile, City could look to add another striker to their squad after failing to replace Sergio Aguero this summer.
Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic remains a possible option as he enters the final 18 months of his contract with Fiorentina.
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