Guardiola Fumes at Milner's red card escape
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Manchester City could be forced to continue their pursuit of Harry Kane without Raheem Sterling, a player who was considered a potential bargaining chip in the deal during the summer. Barcelona are reportedly plotting a sensational January move for the England winger which could have knock-on implications for both City and Tottenham.
Sterling has been a peripheral figure at the Etihad this season, much as he was last time out, despite starring for England at Euro 2020.
The likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus have made first-team minutes hard to come by, while he has struggled to make a strong impression when given the chance.
According to The Mirror, Barcelona are monitoring Sterling’s situation with a view to taking him on loan in January.
Such a move could be beneficial for all parties, with the player likely to see more of the pitch at a struggling side like Barca who could use his attacking quality.
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Furthermore, it would get a potentially unhappy player off City’s books, albeit temporarily, and the Catalan side could acquire his services free of charge for the remainder of the season.
That much is paramount for cash-strapped Barca, and an agreement could even be reached whereby they somehow divide the player’s wages between them.
If everyone is fit and firing at the Camp Nou, Sterling could find himself side-lined, although the likes of Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele have suffered injury issues in the past.
The one major drawback for City could be the potential hindrance it would pose to any future pursuit of Kane.
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Sterling was reportedly offered up as part of the well-publicised transfer pursuit this summer, and although the north London side chose to dig their heels in on that occasion, that does not automatically mean they would do so in the future.
City showed a reluctance to deal on a cash-only basis for Kane, particularly after Spurs stood firm on their £200million valuation of the England striker.
All told, Sterling’s potential exit could push Kane’s prospective move to Manchester one step further away, a possibility made even more damaging by that fact that there are no obvious alternatives.
Boss Pep Guardiola has so far tackled the season without a recognised senior striker in the squad, something which the Blues could aim to rectify in January.
Although recent performances against Chelsea and Liverpool suggest that nothing needs to change, braving the entire season without the option of a frontman could come back to bite them.
Whether they will reignite their interest in Kane once January rolls around remains to be seen, although taking Sterling out of the equation could make it even more difficult than it proved this summer.
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