The future of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling looks set to be one of the major stories of the current transfer window, with fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur emerging as a potential destination.
What’s the word?
That’s according to journalist Graeme Bailey – speaking on the Talking Transfers podcast – who revealed that Spurs are still in the equation, despite the recent reports that the Englishman is of interest to London rivals, Chelsea.
Asked about the 27-year-old’s future, he stated: “Tottenham are in this as well. I’m told Harry Kane might be doing some background work here, might be trying to persuade his England teammate,
“They play very well together these two. So if he’s considering Chelsea, why wouldn’t he consider Tottenham. I’d take Tottenham seriously and they can offer Champions League football.”
Previous reports have also suggested that manager Antonio Conte is keen on bringing in the pacy wideman, with the player set to cost in the region of around £50m, despite having just a year remaining on his existing deal.
Despite previously hinting at his desire to play in Spain, Sterling could well be seriously considering a move to another Premier League club this summer, with it looking as if his hugely successful spell at City is coming to an end.
Signed from Liverpool in a controversial £49m deal in 2015, the diminutive gem has gone on to score 131 goals and provide 95 assists in 339 games in all competitions for his current side, while his total Premier League career tally now sits at 109 goals and 56 assists in 320 games, across his spells at both clubs.
Transformed from an exciting young talent into a prolific world-beater by Pep Guardiola, the £63m-rated machine has developed into one of the most lethal forwards both in the division and in Europe, having reached double figures for league goals in each of the past five seasons.
Equally, at international level, the “lethal” marksman – as described by Roger Bennett – has plundered 19 goals from his 77 appearances, notably netting three goals in England’s run to the European Championship final last summer.
A star attraction for his country in that tournament, the £200k-per-week predator has since been reduced unfairly to something of a backup role at club level, albeit while proving instrumental in the champions’ final day comeback victory over Aston Villa, registering an assist off the bench to help spark the dramatic turnaround.
Such an impact served as a reminder of his quality, with the “explosive” talent, as dubbed by commentator Glenn Davis, deserving of a more enhanced role elsewhere – something that Conte and co can no doubt offer.
As Bailey alluded to, there could also be the chance to rekindle what has become a blossoming partnership under Gareth Southgate between Sterling and Harry Kane, with the national team having become almost overly reliant on the goalscoring exploits of the pair.
Two of arguably only a handful of almost guaranteed starters for the Three Lions, the pair have dovetailed nicely in attack of late, with the City man providing that dynamic, attacking threat from either flank, while Kane takes on that deeper, playmaking role that has become his trademark.
The chance to replicate that duo for the Lilywhites should be hugely attractive for both Conte and sporting director Fabio Paratici, with signing the Jamaica-born ace set to be another statement of intent in what has already proven an impressive window.