Raheem Sterling has announced his departure from Manchester City ahead of a £47.5m move to Chelsea.
Sterling agreed personal terms on a five-year deal with the option of a further 12 months and had a medical with Chelsea on Sunday.
In a statement confirming his departure from City, Sterling said: “Seven seasons. Eleven major trophies. A lifetime of memories.
“To the coaching staff who have played a fundamental role in my development over the years. To my teammates who have become more than just those with whom I share a field. To the backroom staff. To the the office. To the fans who have worked tirelessly to support the team AND to everyone involved at Manchester City, my respect for you could not be greater.
“What a journey it has been. I am grateful for the ups and downs, as it is the lows that have, at times, tested my strength and resolve, and allowed me to stand here in front of you as the best possible version of me.” same.
“I came to Manchester at the age of 20, today I am leaving as a man. Thank you for your unconditional support. It has been an honor to wear the Manchester City shirt.”
The England international was at the top of a list of strike targets for Thomas Tuchel and had entered the final year of his contract with City.
Pep Guardiola has repeatedly said that “I don’t like to keep players who aren’t happy” and was open to allowing Sterling to leave this summer, even to a Premier League rival, on the condition that a decision was made. Acceptable offer in the region of £50 million.
Sterling offers Tuchel a guaranteed threat – he has directly contributed a combined 165 division goals in 320 appearances for Liverpool and City – as well as tactical flexibility and experience.
The 27-year-old believes he is in the defining phase of his career and wants to make a significant contribution on and off the pitch.
The fact that City can sell two attackers to members of the ‘Big Six’ – Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal for £45m and Sterling to Stamford Bridge – without fear is a sign of their strong recruitment and the gap between them. the clubs.
Intra-league transfers at the top end of the table will become more common as European teams struggle to compete financially with their English counterparts.
“Sterling is a polarizing target for Chelsea fans but would help freshen up the attack”
Athletic’s Liam Twomey on Sky Sports News:
“I think it’s a transfer that potentially works well for all parties. Sterling needs a change of scenery; he’s fallen out of favor at Manchester City, he’s got a year left on his contract and there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for him out there. from Chelsea.
“I think a lot of the big clubs in the Premier League are experiencing this at a time when it’s easier for them to sell to each other, potentially, than anyone else, given the finances involved. And Chelsea need a way to update. his attack options, especially after the transfer of Romelu Lukaku to Inter.
“I think the new owners also want to make a statement and while Raheem Sterling might not be the most exotic or exciting name for some Chelsea fans, he’s proven in the Premier League, he’s 27, he’s a key England international. a quality addition.
“I think Sterling is a bit of a polarizing target among Chelsea fans and I think part of that is because he’s very familiar. We know his flaws as a player very well as well as his strengths as we’ve been seeing him all the time in the Premier League and I think that’s reflected in the way a lot of Chelsea fans see him. But there’s no denying that he’s been a very effective player in the top teams in this league for a long, long time, so I think it would be a very reliable actor.
“We’re also seeing a greater willingness from Chelsea to look at proven Premier League targets. They’ve been burned out in recent years by signing players from other leagues who maybe needed time to adapt or, in some cases, didn’t adapt. Really”. at all and has not been fully utilized in the team.
“Someone like Sterling, who has already produced at a high level in the Premier League for many years, can see why that would be attractive to Chelsea and, to Boehly, he’s a big name. And at 27, he’s someone of who could still wait.” be productive for several more years.
Stat Analysis: Predatory Poaching and Mobility
Sky Sports’ Adam Smith:
Sterling ranks fifth in Premier League goal share since making his Liverpool debut as a 17-year-old in 2012, with his tally of 165 (109 goals and 56 assists) trailing only Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Jamie Vardy and Mohamed Salah. .
That tally is all the more impressive when you consider how the England international failed to reach double digits for goals in a season until 2017/18, when his 17 goals represented a 157 per cent jump from the previous campaign.
He proceeded to hold double figures for league goals in three successive seasons, culminating in a career best comeback of 20 in 2019/20.
However, the graph below shows that their numbers have decreased since 2020/21. Declining playtime has certainly played its part, with only marginal drops in his returns by 90.
As the chart below shows, Sterling logged just 62 per cent of available Premier League playing time last term, which was his lowest ratio since his first season at the Etihad.
However, City have progressively deepened their squad in recent years, with all players increasingly rotating to manage match schedules across multiple competitions, which is the main cause of their declining minutes.
In fact, Sterling logged more league minutes than any other traditional striker at the club last term and recorded 210 over £100m in the summer signing of Jack Grealish.
Frequently deployed in a false nine role, in addition to his efficiency as an inverted winger, Sterling has increasingly scored goals from short cuts in and around the box during his seven-year spell at City.
The chart below shows all of Sterling’s shots in the Premier League last season and highlights his ability to score goals from central areas just yards from the goal line, also illustrating his skillful movement to create such opportunities.
The 27-year-old has frequently been accused of turning away clear chances. Indeed, the chart below reveals that he has underperformed his expected performance of goals per 90 minutes in six of the 10 seasons since 2012/13, but the margins of disparity are slim while the actual figures are impressive. .
Pep Guardiola deployed Sterling at both wings last season, while using him to almost the same extent at the top and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is likely to follow a similar plan for the England striker.
The German saw much greater success with a focus on mobility and short rallies in his line of fire last season after Kai Havertz proved a more fruitful option in this role than traditional striker Romelu Lukaku.
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