English Premiership

Sterling value rises as Man City prepare for Burnley test

2018-10-19 07:45
Raheem Sterling (Getty)

Manchester - Raheem Sterling will return to Premier League action for Manchester City against Burnley on Saturday with a spring in his step after ending his international goal drought in style.

READ: England's Shaw extends Man Utd contract to 2023

The burning issue now for the City management is tying the 23-year-old down to a long-term deal at the Etihad.

The forward's stellar two-goal display in England's 3-2 Nations League victory against Spain on Monday could make it harder for Pep Guardiola to hang on to the player, with speculation increasing over a move to Real Madrid.

Sterling's contract runs out at the end of next season and so far talks over a new deal with the reigning champions have proved inconclusive.

The forward's value has risen since City agreed to pay nearly £50 million to Liverpool for his services three years ago but is diminishing every week as he moves closer to becoming a free agent in 2020.

Before his goals for Gareth Southgate's young side this week, Sterling had last found the net internationally in October 2015, leading to criticism from some England fans over his inability to score.

But the City faithful have defended their player, who has netted an impressive 22 goals in his past 40 Premier League matches.

Ask the club's fans about Sterling's character and they are likely to talk about his work for charity, which saw him make a donation to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire last year, rather than the tattoo of a rifle on his leg that drew criticism from anti-violence groups.

But supporters also know that Sterling is single-minded in his ambition and that Real Madrid are a club that might tempt him.

Sterling ambition

Sterling was 15 when he decided to leave Queens Park Rangers for Liverpool, even though a first-team breakthrough would have been easier to come by at the Hoops.

Sterling not only achieved that at Anfield at the age of 17 but made such an impact his England debut followed eight months later. He left Liverpool for City in July 2015 because he wanted to become a Premier League winner and achieved that last season.

Adding a Champions League winner's medal is a logical next step and there is no better destination to achieve that than Real, winners of four of the past five tournaments.

The end of the Cristiano Ronaldo era at the Bernabeu and the struggles of head coach Julen Lopetegui to clamber above Barcelona mean Real are in the frame for a big-money signing.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard is the most logical blue-chip recruit but it could turn out to be Sterling instead unless City can conjure up a solution to the current contract impasse.

This weekend, Guardiola has a decision to make over Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne, who is close to full fitness after injuring his knee just one game into the Premier League season.

The 27-year-old play-maker has been training with the first-team squad since before the international break and will be assessed before the City manager decides whether to involve him against the Clarets, who are 12th in the Premier League.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Saturday, 24 November 2018
Fulham v Southampton, Craven Cottage 17:00
Everton v Cardiff City, Goodison Park 17:00
West Ham United v Manchester City, London Stadium 17:00
Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Old Trafford 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Liverpool, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 25 November 2018
AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal, Vitality Stadium 15:30
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Huddersfield Town, Molineux Stadium 18:00
Monday, 26 November 2018
Burnley v Newcastle United, Turf Moor 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.