Manchester City are reportedly ready to offer Raheem Sterling a new contract to end any lingering speculation about his future.
As John Cross of the Daily Mirror reported, City were said to be willing to include the England international as a makeweight in a possible deal for Arsenal man Alexis Sanchez during the summer, though both players ended up staying with their clubs.
According to Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star Sunday, City never wanted to see the 22-year-old leave and are set to show their faith in him.
"They have already assured Sterling...that it was Arsenal who made the approach when there was talk of an exchange which would have seen Sanchez move to the Etihad Stadium," Hetherington said. "[City boss Pep] Guardiola insisted then that he did not want to lose the £49 million signing from Liverpool."
Despite the links, Sterling has started the campaign with renewed focus. As OptaJoe noted, the winger has managed to find some crucial consistency in the final third early in the season:
While City have some incredible attacking talent at their disposal, Sterling is making himself a difficult man to drop, scoring in his past four Premier League appearances.
Vying for a spot with the likes of Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and even Sergio Aguero, there will be times during the campaign when the England international will sit on the bench. But his blistering pace and goalscoring instinct make him such an asset.
With three years to run on his contract, there is no immediate pressure on City to get a new deal in front of Sterling. However, with new contracts for David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Jesus also reportedly in the pipeline, it's clear the club is seeking to get its key assets tied down.
United Muscle In on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Chase
Fissler suggested the Red Devils are "favourites" to snap up the 22-year-old despite longstanding interest from the Etihad Stadium.
"City boss Guardiola has been impressed with reports that he has received about the Serbian as is his opposite number at Old Trafford Jose Mourinho," Fissler reported. "The Portuguese boss had the player watched last weekend when Lazio beat Genoa 3-2 and will continue to keep tabs on him for the rest of the season."
Milinkovic-Savic is into his third season as a Lazio player, and the progress he has made at the club has been startling. As WhoScored.com noted, he's a massive presence in the middle of the field:
There's more to his game than winning headers, though. What makes Milinkovic-Savic such a special player is he can do so many things well, whether that be in terms of his defensive contribution or his ability to blitz forward with the ball and aid attacking play.
According to Fissler, having rejected an offer of £40 million from Juventus for the player, Lazio would be looking for "almost double" that amount if they were to sell him. You sense that even with that price tag slapped upon him, Milinkovic-Savic would have his pick of suitors.