Sunday, April 21, 2024

Raheem Sterling: A stellar career turned wrong as Chelsea plan to axe former Liverpool youngster and Manchester City star

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Chelsea are reportedly preparing to sell Raheem Sterling as they seek to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR). The London club faces the necessity to offload several key players in the summer to balance their financial books following a period of significant spending under Todd Boehly’s ownership.

Sterling, who has endured a dip in form, is expected to be among the first departures, with multiple sources indicating so. His recent performance in the FA Cup match against Leicester City, where he missed crucial chances, including a penalty, a one-on-one opportunity, and a short-range free-kick, has further fueled speculation about his future at Chelsea. The winger faced criticism from some Chelsea fans during the match, and he was eventually substituted by Mauricio Pochettino in the 86th minute.

According to reports, Chelsea is planning to offload the 29-year-old, but finding a suitable buyer might prove challenging due to his hefty wage of £325,000 per week at Stamford Bridge. This wage demand effectively limits his options within the Premier League, as it would require him to accept a significant pay cut to join another club in the league, which appears unlikely.

As a result, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a potential destination for Sterling, although it remains uncertain whether he would be inclined to make such a move.

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Sterling was once a hot young prospect at Liverpool, and believing the time right for the next step in his career, he forced a move to Manchester City in the summer of 2015, after refusing to sign a new contract with the Merseysiders and much fierce talk between Brendan Rodgers and Aidy Ward, the Liverpool boss and his representative, respectively, at the time. Ward later dropped a hint that things could’ve perhaps been different had they been informed of Liverpool’s plans to replace Rodgers with Jurgen Klopp, but it was obviously too late by then.

The winger can hardly be said to have regretted his move to the Etihad, where he subsequently won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup, five League Cups, and two Community Shields, scoring 131 goals and producing 95 assists over 339 games in all competitions. It was obviously the high-point of his career, wreaking havoc among the opposition defences under the guidance of Pep Guardiola for several years.

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But eventually, that story came to an end, with Guardiola known for his tendency to refresh the playing personnel at the club every now and then. Sterling’s importance to the team diminished in time, and in 2022, Chelsea paid around £50 million to secure his services. City won the treble the following season, while the London Blues started what can only be described as a severe struggle that still hasn’t ended.

The performances of the 29-year-old this term haven’t been anywhere near the level expected of a player with his kind of talent, winning experience and pedigree, and the fact that the games in which he plays the full 90 minutes are becoming few and far apart shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

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Be that as it may, going from a hot prospect, a young player which one top club wants to keep and another signs nonetheless, to being surplus to requirement to a third club in heavy crisis by the age of 29, is not quite the career path most would desire, regardless of the numerous accolades won in between. What’s more, Sterling was undoubtedly one of the best England players as Gareth Southgate’s men marched to the Euro 2020 final, and now, it seems he’s at serious risk of not making the squad for the upcoming tournament in the summer at all.

It remains to be seen if Sterling can resurrect his spirit and return to the top of his game. If he does, he could yet leave more marks on the English game in the near future. If not, Saudi Arabia is the best place for him, and his move there better happen soon, while they still want him.

It’s up to him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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