The England international is currently considering all of his options before committing to anything long-term. This is because he only has 12 months left on his contract at the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola wants him to stay, but Sterling could opt to move on in quest of regular game time. The winger has 131 goals and 10 major trophies under his belt since joining the team from Liverpool. This also includes four Premier League titles. Sterling has firmly cemented his name into City history over the past seven years. However, he has a lack of success in the Champions League.
Sterling’s exit, though, might need the addition of a competent successor because Guardiola is adamant about maintaining fierce competition for positions. The following three names may be on the club’s radar:
Manchester City wants Rafael Leão – AC Milan
A player who is currently the subject of heated contract negotiations. The club has made keeping hold of their star player, Leo, their top priority. Leo was electric for the Italian champions last season. Currently, there is a significant discrepancy between the player’s demands and the club’s offer, which presents an opportunity for City. The 23-year-old is a versatile winger with natural foot talent who can play on either flank. His meteoric rise has alerted some of Europe’s elite, and any indication of his departure would spark a bidding war for his services. Last season, he contributed to 21 goals in 34 Serie A games. Even if his contract isn’t up until 2024, it would be difficult for him to say no if Guardiola and City come knocking.
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
Just a few weeks ago, there were links to the star forward for Arsenal, but they have since vanished. His 18-goal contributions in the 2021/22 season were his most numerous to date. The 20-year-old has experienced a meteoric rise through the Arsenal academy into the first team. There is no doubt that Saka will become one of Europe’s top wingers. He is a strong runner with the ball and has the talent to produce flashes of creative magic. His inclusion in the starting XI, along with Sterling, is evidence that he is already a regular in Gareth Southgate‘s England squad and that they have similar qualities.
Is Saka a possible replacement for Sterling?
In essence, this agreement would be a replacement of equal value. Saka has demonstrated more than enough to demonstrate that he is capable of reaching such levels, even though Sterling has grown on the elite stage and is entering the prime of his career.
Serge Gnabry – Bayern Munich
This might be the choice that fits City’s aesthetic the best. Gnabry has transformed himself into one of the most reliable wingers in Europe, even keeping former blue Leroy Sané at a distance in the German capital. Gnabry’s carefree days where he failed to shine at Arsenal are long gone. His 20-goal contributions in 34 Bundesliga games were crucial in ensuring that Bayern Munich won the domestic championship once more, and his 2023 contract expiration date might make the City management happy.
Gnabry’s brief contract might make talks with the German champions relatively simple if the Blues can get his attention and convince him to return to the Premier League.
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