Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Chelsea Rumored As Raheem Sterling Suitor

Chelsea’s reported interest in Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling raises questions for both clubs. Sterling is the subject of a rumored move from Manchester City for a second consecutive summer as the dynamic forward was reportedly offered by Manchester City to Tottenham Hotspur in last summer’s failed bid to acquire Harry Kane. Former Liverpool player Sterling has one year remaining on his contract with Manchester City and the club would clearly like to recoup some value rather than have Sterling leave on a free transfer one year hence. Sterling, meanwhile, is looking to play a bigger role for a club as his minutes for Manager Pep Guardiola’s side have diminished.

Sterling started only 28 of 50 matches for Manchester City in Premier League and Champions League competition this past season. Sterling’s 13 goals in league play were five more than any current Chelsea player. Manchester City has now added striker Erling Haaland who is expected to become the focus of the Manchester City attack. Young Argentinian striker Julian Alvarez is also expected to join the front line options for City following conclusion of his current loan stint at River Plate The problem for Manchester City is that Gabriel Jesus is expected to leave during this transfer window, potentially to Arsenal, and  Sterling and Jesus have added an element of athleticism to City’s attacking options which can’t be found elsewhere on the roster. The loss of both Sterling and Jesus in the same window could thus be risky.

Another talented Manchester City wing player, Bernardo Silva, is also rumored to be leaving in favor of long-desired employment in Barcelona. Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel has certainly been frustrated with his attacking options and appears on the verge of shipping Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan via loan or outright sale just one year after the club’s record signing was purchased. Lukaku contributed only eight goals in the Premier League this past season amid reported unhappiness by both player and manager. Sterling is a much different player from central striker Lukaku and is most comfortable being deployed on the left wing where Chelsea currently have Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner. Like Lukaku, Werner has been a disappointment for Manager Tuchel and saw his minutes dwindle this past season. The former RB Leipzig forward has had difficulty converting golden chances, a trait Sterling also displays to a far lesser extent. The much more accomplished Sterling has 131 goals in 339 appearances for City while winning 10 major trophies with the club. Pulisic, meanwhile, has had continual fitness issues at Chelsea which have limited his opportunity to shine in blue. Chelsea’s initial bid for Sterling was reported to be well below Manchester City’s valuation so the extent of interest by Chelsea to bring Sterling to London, where he grew up from the age of five, is questionable.

The interest by Chelsea in Sterling could be merely exploratory as the club monitors the situation with Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich striker has exceeded 40 goals in seven consecutive seasons for the Bundesliga club which he now wants to leave for a fresh opportunity with Barcelona. Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel would love nothing more than to swoop in for the Polish international should talks fail between financially strapped Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Other rumored attack targets for Chelsea include Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele and RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku. Dembele, however, is injured more often than Pulisic and Chelsea and may have reservations about dealing for another young RB Leipzig striker in Nkunku after its disappointing returns from Werner.  

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