The France international, 24, is yet to feature for Barcelona this season due to a hamstring injury suffered in the European Championships. In fact, since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for massive money, the speedy winger has failed to live up to the lofty expectations of the Camp Nou faithful.
Regardless, Catalan outlet El Nacional claim that Manchester City chief Pep Guardiola is eager to add Ousmane Dembele to his squad. With that in mind, Barcelona are focusing on signing Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling as a part of the exchange deal, the report adds.
Raheem Sterling, 26, has struggled to cement his place in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI since the second half of the 2020/21 campaign, which has left his future in doubt. The England international has fallen further down the attacking pecking order at the Etihad Stadium following the big-money signing of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in the summer, thereby, managing only three starts out of eight Premier League games to date this season.
Sterling’s recent admission about him being open to a move abroad has given further legs to these rumours and many are foreseeing a scenario where the Englishman could indeed follow Sergio Aguero to La Liga.
Ousmane Dembele plus cash in exchange for Raheem Sterling—Should Man City agree on such a deal?
There is no doubting that Manchester City have one of the best squads in Europe and that Pep Guardiola will aim to end the club’s wait for the elusive Champions League trophy this term. They are right up there in regards to the squad’s quality and depth and are considered hot favourites to retain the Premier League title.
Despite enjoying a fine start to the new season, some of the City players have been linked with exits. Raheem Sterling is one of those, with the winger linked with a move to Barcelona. At 26 and with his contract expiring at the end of next season, the England international is at a critical juncture of his career.
Pep Guardiola’s interest in signing Ousmane Dembele has seen Barcelona ask Sterling in exchange, but in reality, a swap deal plus cash doesn’t make sense for Manchester City. Dembele was signed from Dortmund as a replacement for Neymar in 2017—the same summer the Brazilian international was sold to Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record transfer.
Since then, injuries have ruined Dembele’s progress at Barcelona. He is yet to feature for Ronald Koeman’s side this season and has managed only 64 La Liga appearances in the last three seasons combined. Considering his injury history, the Frenchman—despite being only 24—will be too big a gamble to take for the Sky Blues who are a well-settled outfit.
As far as Sterling is concerned, he clearly isn’t a guaranteed starter at City anymore and is right in considering his options. However, if the English winger is deemed surplus to requirements at the moment, Guardiola and City would be wise to sell Raheem Sterling next summer when he’ll have just a year left on his contract. With that money, they could reinvest in signing a striker—one of their summer’s topmost priorities.
As evidenced by their struggles to finish off chances against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool in the high-profile games this season, Guardiola must abandon his pursuit of Dembele and focus on signing a top-quality striker. In any case, the swap deal plus cash involving Dembele and Sterling doesn’t bode well for Manchester City at this moment in time.