Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling contract issue is ‘important’ to Man City

Pep Guardiola says he is in the dark over whether Raheem Sterling will sign another Manchester City contract.

The England star bagged his first hat-trick for nearly two years as the Blues won 4-0 at Norwich to keep up their relentless pace at the top of the Premier League.

But Sterling will enter the final year of his current deal this summer, and with no indication of another deal being in the offing, his future remains uncertain.

Sterling said last season, when he was edged out of the team by Phil Foden, that he would have to consider a move if he was not playing regularly – and the signing of Jack Grealish added fresh competition on his favored left-hand side.

Since then, Sterling has undergone a resurgence in form, scoring 11 in his last 15 appearances to become only the second City player, with Riyad Mahrez, to reach double figures this season, with 12 in total.

He has also been a key attacking weapon, providing penetration in tight games, as he did against Brentford last week, when a turn of pace earned a penalty to break the deadlock.

His future remains in the balance, but Guardiola says that while he has input, any decision is out of his hands.

“Nobody doubts how important it is,” said Guardiola. “I have shown it. What I want is for tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, he and all the players play well.

“If we count the amount of games he has played since we are together, it’s a lot. He was a key player.

“In the future I don’t know what’s going to happen, because the club decides. The club all the time. When they extend the player contracts, I give my opinion but the club takes the decisions all the time.”

Sterling appears happier now he is playing together, but with talk of big changes at City this summer, there is increasing speculation that Sterling could leave in a squad shake-up.

Guardiola offers no guarantees to any player, although the news that Jack Grealish is out for up to a month with a shin problem means Sterling is likely to play more – and he has already been involved in 13 of the last 18 games.

“What I want is the best for the players,” said Guardiola. “I’m really pleased if they are happy but contracts are not my business. I’ve never been involved.

“I try to be fair with myself and the team and everyone deserves to play. When you see how Aleks (Zinchenko) played (vs Norwich), he deserves to play.

“Everyone deserves to play and it is my decision. I’m pretty sure tonight will be a massive confidence boost for him.

“I’ve known Raheem for six seasons so I think I know him perfectly well and this season he was outstanding in goals and assists, for the team and for himself.

“During this period there are highs and lows and problems. It’s part of life, not a honeymoon. “There are always problems, you have to solve them. What is important is to see the next chapter and next games, next moments, big smiles, being positive and try to do it.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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