Pep Guardiola Rules out Sale of Reported Arsenal Target Raheem Sterling

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2017

Manchester City's English forward Raheem Sterling (L) speaks to Manchester City's Spanish Manager Pep Guardiola during a training session at the City Football Academy in Manchester, north west England, on March 14, 2017, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second-leg football match against Monaco.  / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted there is "no chance" of Raheem Sterling leaving the club in the near future despite speculation in the summer. 

It was reported by John Cross of the Daily Mirror late in the transfer window that City were willing to move Sterling on to Arsenal in the hope of bringing Alexis Sanchez to the Etihad Stadium. However, the Sky Blues were unable to convince the Gunners to let their star man go.

When asked about Sterling's status at the club after he netted a brace in Saturday's 5-0 win over Crystal Palace, Guardiola said a departure was never on the cards, per Jonathan Smith of ESPN FC:

"Raz [Raheem] is staying here. The club trust him, that is why we have invested a lot of money in him, so the players we have are going to stay. If they want to leave they are going to leave, but he wants to stay. If players want to leave they have to ask the chairman, but there is no chance of that. He is going nowhere."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Raheem Sterling of Manchester City is embraced by manager Josep Guardiola after substituted during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Manchest
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

James Robson of the Manchester Evening News noted how highly the City boss rates the England international:

According to Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star Sunday, City have been so impressed with the way in which the 22-year-old has acquitted himself this season that they are prepared to offer him a new contract.

Sterling signed for City from Liverpool in 2015 for £49 million when he was rated as one of the best prospects in world football. Some will be disappointed by his relatively slow development at the Etihad, though.

Last season under Guardiola there were real signs of progress, and this term he's started the season in exceptional form despite the transfer speculation.

As noted by the BBC Match of the Day Twitter account, Sterling has a newfound ruthlessness in front of goal:

With so much attacking talent on their books, it wouldn't have been a massive surprise if Sterling had been tempted by a possible move away to guarantee regular football.

After all, when Guardiola fields his best XI, Sterling is unlikely to be in it. Competition for places at City is as fierce as any club in the world, with Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva all jostling for spots in what is typically a front three.

City have so much attacking quality to call on.
City have so much attacking quality to call on.OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

But the displays from Sterling this term are making it tough for Guardiola to drop him. World Soccer Talk's Kartik Krishnaiyer thinks he gets a raw deal:

In Guardiola, the England man has a coach who has helped develop the game of some of the finest attackers in the world. Now we're seeing the influence of the illustrious coach and the faith he seems to have in City's No. 7.