Manchester City want to tie down Raheem Sterling to a longer deal as the England forward enters the final two years of his contract.
The 23-year-old started the season in impressive form, scoring the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Arsenal just a week after returning to first team training. City boss Pep Guardiola reiterated his desire for Sterling to stay but there are concerns that his value will begin to decrease if a new deal is not agreed before the transfer window reopens in January.
Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus are among a number of players to sign contract extensions recently and Sterling could follow suit and become one of the best paid players at the club. Guardiola told a news conference that he is not involved in negotiations with the former Liverpool player, who scored 23 goals in all competitions for City last season, but hopes an agreement can be reached.
“For the record, I’m not a sports director, not even a manager, he said. “I’m a trainer. I try to make a good team spirit in the locker room and win games.
“But we are delighted with him and would like Raheem to stay. We’ll do our effort to make him feel we count on him. And we count on him. We arrived after a difficult season [two years ago] and I told him I want to help him and would like him to be happy.
“In the end, the agents may not have agreements and that may not happen. But he knows and his agent knows we like him and want him a lot.”
Sterling received some criticism at the World Cup despite helping England to the semifinals for the first time in 28 years. He put his hand to his ear to celebrate his goal in what appeared to be a reference to sniping but Guardiola said he was an important figure for Gareth Southgate’s team.
“If you judge the players in the World Cup if they score a goal or not…Raheem had this special relationship with English football, but he’s so loved in the locker room,” he said.
“He made some very good things in the World Cup, how he moved and created space for others. He likes to score goals and he tried, but I’m sure in the European qualifiers he will score goals for his country, England.”