Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has reportedly emerged as a shock transfer target for their crosstown rivals.
The Independent‘s Miguel Delaney claimed on Monday that Manchester United’s analytics team have been assessing the 25-year-old and could potentially make a move for him depending on the outcome of the Premier League champions’ appeal against their two-year ban from UEFA competitions.
The report stated that, while currently “nobody sees the player as any way likely to go to Manchester United”, the Red Devils could go for him if his future at the Etihad Stadium becomes uncertain should City’s European ban be upheld.
If Manchester City remain barred from the Champions League until 2022 and Sterling subsequently hints at a desire to leave the club in order to play in the competition, he could become a player in demand based on the scoring figures he has put up in recent seasons.
The England international has struck 20 goals in the current campaign and flew out of the starting blocks before hitting a barren streak since the end of 2019 (as per TransferMarkt). Despite that rather strange loss of form, he showed with goal returns of 25 and 23 in the previous two seasons that he is a consistently reliable scorer rather than a streaky, flash-in-the-pan player.
He would leave a considerable void if he were to leave Manchester City and The Independent‘s suggestion that the UEFA ban could cast doubt on his Etihad future has echoes of reports surrounding Kevin De Bruyne in recent weeks – the Belgian midfielder told HLN that two years outside of the Champions League “would be long”, hinting that he could possibly depart if City’s appeal fails.
The recent reports involving De Bruyne and Sterling highlight how crucial the outcome of next week’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport will be to Manchester City’s medium-term future. If the ban is upheld, there could be plenty more speculation regarding the futures of key first team players who may be yearning to play Champions League football elsewhere.
Do you think Raheem Sterling will stay at Man City if the UEFA ban is upheld?
The possibility of Sterling defecting across the city to line out in United colours is one which City fans may find difficult to process and might have come as quite a shock, despite even that transfer report suggesting that such a move seems unlikely at present.
Nonetheless, the mere fact that it was raised could hint at a future where several of Manchester City’s key assets are targeted by Europe’s elite if the Etihad Stadium is a Champions League-free zone until 2022 at the earliest.
Man City fans, were you shocked by the reports linking Sterling with United? Could you see the winger potentially leaving if the UEFA ban is upheld? Have your say by commenting below!
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