Raheem Sterling is in talks about his future but no decision has been made as Chelsea are expected to respond to their interests once Romelu Lukaku’s loan to Inter Milan is completed.
Sterling is entering the final year of his contract at Manchester City and at 27 is carefully considering what he believes is the defining phase of his career.
Chelsea are yet to open a formal dialogue with Sterling, which is one of their main objectives.
But the Blues could step up their efforts to sign the England international after reaching an agreement on a loan move for striker Lukaku, according to Inter heaven in Italy.
Inter pay a fee of €8m (£6.9m) plus extra costs, with the move subject to a medical check.
Sterling feels he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet and can still improve his game, which can only be achieved if he is seen as a crucial contributor in the starting XI – especially in the context of the biggest games.
That status has waned at City, but a deep mutual respect remains between the player and the club. He has respectfully asked for time to fully assess what kind of role he is playing in Pep Guardiola’s plans going forward.
Sterling is keen to make a meaningful contribution wherever he plays and has been honest that he doesn’t want a supporting role and thrives on taking responsibility on and off the pitch.
Discussions with City have been very professional and cordial and it’s understood the club won’t stand in his way if he decides to go ahead and give them a fair fee.
Thomas Tuchel is an admirer of Sterling, who upgrades many of his current options in the last third and has tactical acumen.
Sterling could cure Chelsea’s points woes after scoring double figures in each of his last five Premier League seasons. He has also proved a creative force, first at Liverpool and then at City, contributing 165 goals in the division in 320 straight games for the two combined.
Chelsea aren’t the only ones monitoring Sterling, with Real Madrid and Barcelona checking his situation. FC Bayern Munich had considered him as an alternative to Sadio Mané, Julian Nagelsmann had previously publicly expressed his appreciation for the multifunctional striker.
Chelsea are using the Senegalese international’s £35.1m move from Liverpool to the Allianz Arena as a guide to Sterling’s potential fee, but City will ask more – over £50m – given he’s much younger than Mane and an intra -League bonus for a rival is apply.
A compromise of around £45million has been easily enacted should Chelsea solidify their aspirations.
Sterling won’t consider a possible transfer until formal talks are held and he knows what guarantees he will have from a footballing point of view.
This is a key reason why he conducts all meetings himself. Sterling doesn’t want to leave a winning machine like City in search of greater minutes and meaning only to be on the bench elsewhere.
The four-time title winner is confident he can be a vital cog for a club to lift more silver and is keen to help develop younger players.
Chelsea are also considering Ousmane Dembele and Christopher Nkunku, with other options seemingly out of reach. Robert Lewandowski is set to join Barcelona while Arsenal are “cautiously optimistic” about signing Gabriel Jesus from City.
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