Arsenal are believed to be keeping a close eye on Raheem Sterling’s contract talks, ahead of a potential transfer for the Manchester City star.
Having played a starring role for his country at Euro 2020 – where he netted three times en route to the final – the Englishman would have perhaps expected to continue that form at club level, yet has since found game time hard to come by in the early weeks of the season.
He has scored just once thus far this season, having largely featured off the bench following the arrival of international colleague Jack Grealish, with the former Aston Villa captain predominantly featuring in Sterling’s usual left-wing berth, while Gabriel Jesus has impressed from the right.
The 26-year-old had suffered a similar fate in the back end of last season with Phil Foden taking his place in the side, amid rumours of tension between himself and manager Pep Guardiola, albeit with the former Liverpool man going on to be a surprise starter in the Champions League final defeat in May.
Like a handful of his fellow City teammates, the forward was linked with an exit over the summer, albeit with no such departure taking place with club finances around Europe under pressure.
Talks over a new deal have started between the player’s representatives and the club, though the Star report that Arsenal are keeping a close eye on those negotiations, with manager Mikel Arteta a keen admirer of the player having worked together during the Spaniard’s stint as number two at the Etihad.
The report suggests that talks over extending his deal have been moving ‘slowly’ due to his wage demands and his lack of a regular starting berth within the side, with the Gunners ready to pounce should he become available next summer.
Sterling’s current contract is set to expire in June 2023, meaning that should he fail to agree to an extension, the club would likely be keen to move him on at the end of the season rather than risk losing him for nothing 12 months down the road.
Negotiations have only recently been revived after stalling at the end of last season, with the versatile winger now under new representation, although his demands for an increase to £350,000-a-week – from his current £300,000-a-week wage – are proving to be a sticking point.