Manchester City will look to secure Raheem Sterling for the peak years of his career following Pep Guardiola decision to commit himself to the club for a further two seasons.
City have made new contracts for Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne their top priority after Guardiola penned an agreement that will keep him at the Etihad until 2023.
Club bosses see Guardiola’s new deal as a huge statement of intent – and in January they intend to strengthen their hand further by opening formal talks with Lionel Messi about bringing the Barcelona superstar to Manchester.
With Messi still at war with the Nou Camp club, insiders at the Etihad believe his arrival next summer is close to a formality – a key factor in Guardiola’s decision to stay at City for seven years.
Sealing De Bruyne’s future also appears to be straight forward after the Belgian made it clear during initial negotiations that he is happy with the club and the terms of a new £350,000-a-week deal that will run until 2025.
And City hope that Sterling, 25, will also put pen to paper on improved terms now that speculation over Guardiola’s future has been put to bed.
Like De Bruyne, the England winger’s current £300,000-a-week contract still has more than two years still to run.
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But Sterling has expressed a desire to play abroad at some point during his career.
And City want to strike a new deal with him while his market value is at its peak.
Sterling can also expect a significant pay hike.
The belief inside the club is that the progress he has made working under Guardiola for four seasons has not yet reached its ceiling.
After scoring just 10 goals in the Catalan’s first year, Sterling has hit the net 23, 25 and 31 times in subsequent seasons.
He already has five this season and is City’s most potent threat when it comes to making and taking goals.
Signed from Liverpool for £49million in 2015, Sterling is also one of the club’s most marketable faces when it comes to promoting commercial deals.
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