The Manchester City fans in the Transfer Tavern have been regularly waxing lyrical about the performances of Raheem Sterling this season, but recent reports suggest his role at the club could be set to change next season.
Man City’s unsuccessful pursuit of Riyad Mahrez was one of the shortest and most-documented stories of the January transfer widow. The Algerian ace remained at the King Power Stadium despite City’s efforts to bring him to the Etihad, much to the public displeasure of Mahrez, but recent reports from The Times suggest he could be set to finally receive his wish during the summer window.
According to the report, City have revived discussions with Leicester over a potential deal for Mahrez (valued at £45 million by Transfermarkt) in order to bolster their attacking options next season. The Foxes’ talisman usually operates in a right-wing position – a position which has been occupied by Raheem Sterling for the majority of the season so far.
Sterling has previously been scrutinised for the standard of his performances in relation to his enormous potential, but he has silenced even his firmest of critics by playing a starring role in City’s double-trophy winning season. In 45 appearances for the club, Sterling has scored 23 goals and provided 17 assists, including a handful of vital winners in the dying embers of tight encounters.
The England international has proven his worth to say the least, but he has largely been unchallenged for a starting berth on the right-side of City’s midfield. Mahrez’s arrival in Manchester would change that and his presence could potentially force Sterling to operate in a central role on a more regular basis, whether it be as a striker or a number ten.
Sterling has been deployed in a central role on a handful of occasions this season, but the fluidity of City’s attacking movement has allowed him to influence proceedings from central positions even when he has started out wide. The 23-year-old possesses all of the technical and mental attributes to operate within any position across City’s attacking line-up, and he may be forced to prove his versatility on a regular basis next season if the club are successful in their pursuit of Mahrez.
Manchester City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!