Guardiola eager for new Sterling deal but admits club will make final call

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Pep Guardiola has said he wants Raheem Sterling to sign a new contract at Manchester City but claims any decision over the forward’s future will ultimately be taken by the club.

Sterling’s deal expires in June 2023 and there has been little progress in negotiating fresh terms. He said in October that he would be open to receiving more game time elsewhere and floated the possibility of a move abroad. The 27-year-old’s form has stuttered over the past year but he scored a hat-trick in the win at Norwich on Saturday, including a fine opener, and his manager emphasised the importance of keeping him on.

“Nobody doubts how important it is,” Guardiola said. “What I want is [day after day] to play good. Not just him, but all the players. If we count the amount of games he has played since we are together, it is a lot. He is a key player.

“About the future, I don’t know what is going to happen. The club decides. I give my opinion but of course the club takes the decision all the time.”

Sterling started only two of City’s first seven Premier League games this season, at which point he suggested he would consider a move abroad, but has begun all of their past 12. His goals at Carrow Road meant he has already equalled his relatively meagre tally last season of 10 top-flight strikes and Guardiola said fluctuations in fortune should be expected of any player.

“I am pretty sure tonight will be massive for his confidence,” he said after the game. “I have known Raheem for six seasons; this season he was outstanding in goals, assists and his contribution to the team and for himself. During that period there are highs and lows, it is part of life.

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