The anticipated deal to bring in River Plate sensation Julian Alvarez could be the start of a period of significant change in the Manchester City forward line.
Of course, you can argue that the respective anticipated and unanticipated departures of Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres have already got this process underway.
But the Blues are still understood to be keen on bringing in a marquee centre-forward during the summer, irrespective of whether they get the Alvarez deal over the line or not.
Then there is the creeping contract status of Pep Guardiola’s current incumbents.
Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus are all out of contract in June 2023.
Mahrez has arguably been City’s most clinical attacker over the past year and turns 31 next month, meaning his next contract decision could be the last big one of his career – something both the club and the player are likely to address with open eyes.
Perhaps there should be more conjecture about the versatile and tireless Jesus, still only 24, but the sense of the selfless forward being part of the furniture at City means there is little drama around his ticking clock at this point.
As you might expect of the England national team’s leading light, Sterling’s predicament attracts the most attention.
It has already been a turbulent season of contrasts for Raheem, who initially slid back from his Euro 2020 high back into a City malaise.
Following a personally underwhelming end to last season, Sterling started only three of City’s opening 11 Premier League games, scoring a solitary goal from the bench in the 5-0 route of Norwich City.
He was an unused sub in the 2-0 Manchester derby win at Old Trafford but returned to volley home a goal-of-the-season contender on the end of Joao Cancelo’s outrageous outside-of-the-foot pass against Everton.
Including that 3-0 win over the Merseysiders, Sterling has started 10 of City’s previous 12 league games, scoring six times during that period. Arguably, the games against Aston Villa and Chelsea when he did not find the net were his best performances of the season.
Just a few months after links to Barcelona were rife, it is fully understandable that some fans are keen for Sterling to be promptly tied down.
Yet nothing is permanent for any player at Guardiola’s City. Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne might have been the last to learn this but even those two stalwarts of a trophy-laden era have been forced to spend some time on the bench over the past year.
Raheem knows he was a locked-in starter this time in 2021 too, just before everything went a little sour. In that respect alone, it is understandable that he seemingly wants to bid his time.
The specter of Leroy Sane’s cut-price departure to Bayern Munich when there was only a year to run on his contract will haunt some thoughts about Sterling’s future but, without the prospect of an imminent transfer, there is no need to rush.
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England team-mate John Stones was in a similar position last year. Having appeared to be on his way out of the club, the centre-back regained his first-team place alongside Ruben Dias to play a starring role in the successes of 2020/21.
It was barely noticed that Stones’ contract had ticked down to its final 12 months but the immediacy of that situation and his fine form meant a new deal with a reportedly handsome pay rise.
Sterling is already among City’s top earners but Stones’ path to a new deal has probably not passed him by.
If the goals keep tallying up nicely to add a couple more medals to the collection, he can probably help himself to some generous terms at the season’s end – one of those rare situations where everyone’s a winner.
Do you want Raheem Sterling to sign a new contract at Manchester City? Follow City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.