It’s hard to put a finger on what has gone wrong for Raheem Sterling too late.
The Manchester City striker ran his business as usual last season, where he got impressive numbers and spearheaded his side against a third Premier League crown in four years – and then the wheels fell.
Sterling scored only one league goal in City’s last 13 games of the season, a statistic that was not helped by the fact that he did not even reach the pitch in five of the mentioned games.
Perhaps even more worryingly, Sterling played together just 10 minutes in City’s four outings in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League, while his appearances at the start of the 2021/22 campaign have done little to inspire confidence.
So a simple dip in the mold? No problem, it happens to almost all players at some point in their career.
It would be a fair assessment if he had not almost on his own pulled his country to their first European Championship triumph ever this summer.
Sterling’s form with England and with City has been like chalk and cheese, and so the only conclusion to be drawn is that he needs a change of scenery at club level?
After joining the Three Lions squad ahead of their World Cup qualifying double header, Sterling could be killing two birds with one stone by indulging in a house-hunting spot during Gareth Southgate’s men’s trip to Andorra – we are almost positive he is not allowed to, but we could not miss the opportunity to include a weak segue.
The English forward has been strongly linked with a move to Spain in recent weeks, with various reports suggesting Sterling is open to a move to Barcelona.
Now this is where it gets tough.
With a range of attacking talents available, it looks like Pep Guardiola has come to terms with the fact that Sterling is no longer an option.
Aside from the 6-1 hammering of League One Wycombe Wanderers, who, let’s be honest, shouldn’t really Considering here, Sterling have only started three games for City this season – they have not won a single one of them and have scored a total of zero goals.
Sterling is a massive confidence player, and getting short comos off the bench will never be enough to help him regain his old form. You only have to take a look at his displays with the national team, where he has the full faith of his manager, to realize that Guardiola’s apparent change of mind has had a huge impact on his recent performance.
That’s why it’s best for him to cut ties and move to one of the biggest clubs in the world in Barcelona, right? Wrong.
Sterling would be better off kicking the heels on the City bench for the rest of his career and picking up the occasional winning medal than he would move to the Camp Nou.
To put it bluntly, Barça are a mess right now and the only reason a player would decide to join them is because of the prestige their name carries. The pressure Sterling would immediately be burdened with to drag them out of the hole they are in would be enormous, and there is a real danger that his confidence could be further damaged if he failed to produce.
After all, is it really worth moving to a club in ruin just because of their past performance? Nottingham Forest used to be ok if that’s what you’re looking for.
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A player of Sterling’s undeniable talent deserves to have a platform to showcase the talent in a quality team, and therefore a step away from City might be wise.
However, a switch to Barcelona definitely is not. It’s incredible to think that Sterling is still only 26 years old and could potentially have the best football years of his life ahead of him – as long as he avoids the Camp Nou.
A switch to Barça could really destroy Sterling’s confidence without repair, and it’s not a risk he should be willing to take.
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