With news breaking that Raheem Sterling would push for a move away this summer, it was never going to take long before the first serious rumours about a potential destination emerged. Today they have, with reports that Manchester City are preparing a £40M for the English youngster, and whether there’s any truth to the rumours of not, it’s probably the one that makes the most sense.
Chelsea have money, but Sterling doesn’t appear to fit a position of need, not when Jose Mourinho already has a superior wide attacker in Eden Hazard and hard working options like Oscar, Willian, and Cesc Fabregas to slot in behind the striker. Chelsea are big spenders, but they aren’t stupid, and the club have put a lot of effort into building themselves a FFP-compliant, sustainable footballing ecosystem.
They certainly wouldn’t turn their noses up at him if Liverpool were actively peddling the winger and a deal was there to be had, but Sterling for something like the £50M Liverpool are likely to want if they do decide to consider a sale seems a hard expense to justify for them when they have needs elsewhere. It seems a similarly difficult to see Arsenal paying that much to bring Sterling back to London.
City, meanwhile, have the money. Or at least a willingness to spend money in ways that may not be sustainable and may not be able to keep them onside of even relaxes FFP regulations longer term. They’re also an aging team in desperate need of getting younger who have done little in the past to try, as Chelsea have, to build a sustainable system. And they’re a side in desperate need of English players.
That need for homegrown and club-trained players has allowed Dedryck Boyata to make a career of watching City matches from the stands. It’s why the club pushed so hard to bring in Scott Sinclair only to leave him sitting on the bench until he agitated enough to earn himself a loan move. It’s why reports are suggesting they’ve offered James Milner £165k a week to stay beyond the current season.
City need English players, and they need to get younger. And if rumours of a £40M big being prepared are true, and if Liverpool’s talks with Sterling this week end with the club agreeing to sell for the right place, there might just be a deal to be done. It would be a reluctant one from a Liverpool point of view, and City would likely need to raise their bid, but it seems well within the realm of possibility.
With rumours of Liverpool interest in Stevan Jovetic, it’s also possible City would have an asset to dangle in front of the Anfield brass that might help to get a deal done and bridge any valuation gap the two sides might have when it comes to Sterling.
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