Arsenal have been reportedly handed a boost in their pursuit of Manchester City star Raheem Sterling after new Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has ordered the scouts to stop their preparations until he assesses the full squad.
The England international, 26, has been heavily linked with moves to Barcelona and Arsenal in recent weeks as he continues to be overlooked by Pep Guardiola. However, Xavi Hernandez has shattered any hopes of Barcelona approaching Manchester City for their star, thereby, giving the Gunners a clear run at the signing of the 26-year-old winger.
According to Spanish outlet AS (h/t The Express), Arsenal remain in the driving seat if they decide to launch a January swoop for Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.
Sterling has fallen down the attacking pecking order under Pep Guardiola following the big-money summer signing of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa and the meteoric rise of academy graduate Phil Foden. The English ace has started only three Premier League games so far this season and is understood to be frustrated with the lack of game time.
The nippy winger, who has a contract at the Etihad Stadium until 2023, recently admitted that he will not hesitate to leave Guardiola’s side if his situation at Man City does not improve over the next couple of months.
Raheem Sterling to Arsenal—Should the Gunners make a move?
Arsenal are unbeaten in all competitions since October and have climbed up to fifth in the Premier League table. After enduring a forgettable start to the season, Mikel Arteta has steadied the ship that sees the Gunners now only two points below fourth-placed Liverpool.
However, Arteta does have a few issues to solve if his side are to make it to the top four this season. With Granit Xhaka’s MCL injury ruling him out for the foreseeable future and the likes of Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny scheduled to leave for the AFCON in the first week of January, midfield reinforcements are a must in January.
In addition, considering the north London club’s struggles with creativity at times and a lack of productivity in front of goal, they could do well with the acquisition of a new forward. To that end, Raheem Sterling would just be perfect for Arteta’s side.
Predominantly a left-winger, Sterling is equally comfortable operating down the right or through the middle as a false 9. Quick, agile, smart and creative, the 26-year-old would add more potency to Arsenal’s attack whilst bringing in much-needed competition within the squad. 116 goals and 89 assists in 307 appearances for Manchester City is enough to suggest the kind of impact he can have at Arsenal if a move goes through.
The England international has been a serial winner with Guardiola’s City, and his tons of Premier League experience plus versatility should benefit the Gunners in many ways. With his pace, movement, chance creation and goal-scoring ability, he could provide the ‘X-factor’ to the Gunners attack which they’ve been sorely lacking this season.
Thus, if Sterling is given the green signal to leave the Etihad Stadium in January, Arsenal must pounce at the opportunity to get his signature at any cost.