Sterling not ready to sign new City deal … until Guardiola confirms stay

Raheem Sterling will not sign his £450,000-a-week deal — until Pep Guardiola commits his long-term future to Manchester City.

Chief Guardiola last week claimed there was no way he was going to leave next summer.

Yet Sterling wants to know if Pep is staying beyond the 18 months left on his deal, before committing his own future to City. If Guardiola does decide to walk away, and take charge of another club, then Sterling would follow him.

The 24-year-old has formed a deep bond with Guardiola.

It began during his first difficult season of 2015-16 following his £49million move from Liverpool.

Once Guardiola had been confirmed as Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement, one of his first calls was to the struggling attacker.

Pep promised him that if he stuck with him, according to sources close to the player, he would not only make him a world star but he would end up as City’s highest-paid player.

Sterling bought into it and should he sign up to a stunning £150,000-a-week pay rise he would indeed be his club’s highest earner.

His regard for the Catalan grew almost two years ago when he refused to allow him to form part of the deal that would have taken Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.

In the immediate aftermath of his England fracas with Joe Gomez, the City boss texted his attacker to show his concern, then the pair had a heart–to–heart over the matter.

There are few players closer to Guardiola than Sterling, who has blossomed under his direction.

In the Catalan’s first season he managed just ten goals but bagged 23 in the 2017-18 campaign, 25 last season and 14 so far in this one.

His Guardiola-inspired development means Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain would happily pay at least £200m for him.

City will be on alert as Sterling — whose contract has two years longer to run than his manager — said over the summer he wants to go overseas. – TheSunFootball

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