Saturday 21 July 2018

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expecting big money bids for Raheem Sterling this summer

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling will be a target for top clubs
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling will be a target for top clubs

Tim Nash

Manchester City are braced for bids for Raheem Sterling after boss Pep Guardiola admitted there is interest in the £100m-rated star.

Sterling has been in negotiations to extend his £180,000-a-week deal, which runs to 2020, like team-mates Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.

But he has so far failed to sign an extension, which has alerted fellow European super powers Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG.

“Maybe other clubs are interested – anything can happen – but he knows how important he is to us,” said Guardiola.

“For contracts I’m not the guy, it’s Txiki (Begiristain, City’s director of football). No doubt it’s important, the deals of the agents and the circumstances.”

Sterling has been in superb form this season, scoring a career best 20 goals in all competitions, 10 behind top scorer Sergio Aguero, as City have all but wrapped up the Premier League title.

That form has guaranteed him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup in Russia, but also alerted City’s big-spending rivals on the continent.

Real were interested in Sterling before he left Liverpool in 2015 and could resurrect their pursuit.

Meanwhile, Aguero is set to miss Saturday evening’s game at Everton, when City could go 19 points clear and take a huge step towards landing the title.

The Argentina international posted a picture of himself on social media on an exercise bike just before Guardiola’s press conference as he recovers from a knee injury sustained three weeks ago.

Aguero missed Argentina’s two recent friendlies in the international break against Italy and Spain and City’s 2-0 win at Stoke City on 12 March.

“He is much better. We’ll see tomorrow,” said Guardiola.

With Aguero such a doubt, Guardiola has given a vote of confidence to Gabriel Jesus, with the 20-year-old Brazilian having scored just once in his last 15 games.

“The problems with Sergio is he is so important for us,” he said. “First of all it’s important for Gabriel to score after a long time injured – strikers need goals.”

City are set to be without defender John Stones, who came off during England’s 1-1 draw against Italy after suffering concussion.

“John Stones had concussion in the last game, he feels really good but the rule is seven days off so he’s not available,” added Guardiola.

City can go within one win of being crowned champions with victory at Goodison Park but Guardiola is taking nothing for granted after they were beaten 4-0 there last season.

Independent News Service

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