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Five possible destinations for Raheem Sterling

:Headline: Five possible destinations for Raheem Sterling:
Sports Mole takes a look at five possible destinations for Raheem Sterling, after the forward revealed he is "open" to leaving Manchester City.
Sports Mole

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling revealed last week that he is open to leaving the club in search for regular game time.

The 26-year-old endured a difficult spell with the Citizens at the back end of last season and has since struggled to displace summer signing Jack Grealish in the starting lineup.

Sterling, who has less than two years remaining on his contract, now faces an uncertain future at the Etihad Stadium, with several clubs across Europe believed to be monitoring his situation.

The England international has spent his entire career in the Premier League but has revealed that he would consider a move abroad at this stage of his career to experience a different challenge.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at five possible destinations for Sterling ahead of the upcoming transfer windows.


Barcelona

Despite their struggles financially, Barcelona are seemingly the frontrunners to recruit Sterling and they are exploring the possibility of signing him on loan in January.

The Catalan giants, who now 'have the money' to spend on new additions, are understood to be making progress in their efforts to sign the forward in the winter window, with one report suggesting that there is growing optimism that the deal can be agreed.

Man City reportedly have no plans to see Sterling depart the Etihad midway through the season, though they will not block him from leaving the club should the right opportunity present itself.

Sterling's desire to leave for regular first-team football as well as his ambitions to challenge himself abroad could benefit Barcelona in their pursuit of the England international, ahead of potential suiters in the Premier League.

Barca see the potential arrival of Sterling as a direct replacement for Ousmane Dembele, who has less than nine months remaining on his contract at Camp Nou and is unlikely to sign an extension. It is thought that City would be interested in a swap deal involving Dembele and Sterling, something the La Liga giants may consider in January.


Real Madrid

Barcelona's La Liga rivals Real Madrid have also been linked with the Englishman over the last six months, as they consider making another 'Galactico' signing in the near future.

There is no hiding the fact that Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe remains Los Blancos' primary target, but if a deal to sign the Frenchman fails to materialise, Sterling could be a player they decide to turn their attention to.

A report over the summer claimed that Real Madrid were prepared to reignite their interest in the forward, after previously trying to lure him away from Manchester.

Sterling at the time was content at City, but now that the 26-year-old is considering a move abroad, Real may feel this is a good opportunity to get ahead of their rivals and pursue the forward in one of the upcoming transfer windows.

Although Sterling does not seem to be a priority for Los Blancos at present, a move to the Santiago Bernabeu in either January or the summer of 2022 cannot be ruled out. The potential arrival of Sterling could cast doubt over the futures of Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Isco, who have all been linked with moves away from the club.


Arsenal

After previously working with Sterling during his time as an assistant coach at Man City, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is reportedly keen to reunite with the forward, who he enjoys an 'excellent relationship' with.

The Gunners head coach is looking to recruit younger forwards, as the long-term futures of both Alexandre Lacazette, 30, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 32, remain uncertain.

Arteta admires Sterling so much that one report even suggested that Arsenal proposed a player-plus-cash deal to City including three of their players – William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli and Lacazette.

Such an offer, including players Pep Guardiola will most likely have no interest in signing, will not persuade the Citizens to let Sterling go in exchange.

Arsenal were the biggest Premier League spenders last summer – forking out around £140m on six players – and so whether their owners can splash more cash on the England star remains to be seen.

It is also unknown as to whether Sterling would want to move to London and join Arsenal, a club in transition and not currently competing in Europe.


Newcastle United

Newcastle have emerged as a surprise contender for Sterling's signature, following their £300m Saudi-backed takeover earlier this month.

The Magpies now have the financial firepower to spend big in the upcoming transfer windows and it is thought that their new owners are keen to make a statement signing in January.

Sterling is believed to be one of 10 elite players on Newcastle's shortlist of targets for the winter window, which also includes the likes of Bale, Philippe Coutinho and Timo Werner.

Whether Sterling would seriously consider a move to the North East at this stage of his career remains to be seen, with a move to an established club competing in Europe seemingly more likely for the 26-year-old.

However, a new era has begun at Newcastle and the prospect of becoming the talisman at one of England's biggest clubs could be an exciting challenge for the forward to consider.


Liverpool

After leaving Anfield six years ago – joining City for a then English-transfer record of £49m – could a sensational return to Liverpool now be on the cards for Sterling?

Jurgen Klopp is keen to bolster his attacking options and will look to target younger players, as formidable trio Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will all be in their 30s by the start of next season.

However, all three players are adored by Liverpool fans and are currently in their prime, with Salah in particular firing on all cylinders, so the German head coach should have no reasons to replace them any time soon.

Having made 303 appearances for the Citizens, scoring 115 goals and providing 88 assists, there is no denying Sterling's ability and his potential arrival at Liverpool would certainly make them stronger.

Nevertheless, signing the forward would seemingly make no sense for the Reds, unless one of their front three were to be sold at his expense, which would not go down well with the Anfield faithful.
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