Raheem Sterling has been linked with a switch to Barcelona as the Spanish side look to bolster their attacking options and take advantage of the forward’s predicament at the Etihad
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is open to moving to Barcelona according to reports in Spain.
The winger faces huge competition at the Etihad and has only started two of his side’s six Premier League games thus far.
For much of Pep Guardiola’s tenure the England star has been a regular, often appearing down City’s left hand channel.
Over the past four years the 26-year-old has scored 93 times with his 31 haul in 2019/20 a single-season high.
During 2021 though Sterling has often found himself on the bench with the continued emergence of Phil Foden adding further competition for places.
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Jack Grealish was also signed in the summer and has played down the left during the early part of the season.
Sport report that Barcelona are looking to bring the forward to the Nou Camp on loan.
Mateu Alemany, the Spanish club’s sporting director, has been in Manchester to hold talks regarding a potential switch.
The Catalans saw the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave in the summer, leaving them light in attack.
Sterling is thought to be open to the move, understanding that he can be a leading light at Barcelona due to their lack of options in the final third.
Sterling has grown frustrated at his lack of minutes under Guardiola.
Riyad Mahrez has continued to grow in stature over recent years, but even he has found himself on the bench this term.
Gabriel Jesus has started the season playing in a wide role whilst City continue with their false nine system.
All that means the competition for places has ramped up further and there could be casualties sooner rather than later.
Sterling must decide where he sees his future as he prepares to enter contract talks.
His current deal is due to enter its final 18 months and Arsenal are thought to be keen.
Barcelona meanwhile are very much in a rebuilding phase, but doubt continues to swirl over the future of manager Ronald Koeman.
Memphis Depay, a summer arrival, has taken on a leading role in attack alongside academy star Ansu Fati. Luuk de Jong was also bought in on deadline day.
Barcelona’s attack is certainly not what it was, at least on paper, and the addition of Sterling would add some much needed firepower.
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Guardiola has defended Sterling despite his lack of minutes and challenged the player to rediscover his best form.
He said last month: “Do you know how many incredible successes we had in the last seasons yeah? Impossible without Raheem. He’s such an important player.
“But I am here to tell them. He reached an incredible high standard and I have to tell him this is the standard we need, for you, for all of us.
“And I’m pretty sure he will get it. If he’s able to do it, he will do it. And I’m so optimistic that he will do a great season.”