Football: Sterling leaves City for Chelsea in £50 million deal

Raheem Sterling is set to sign a contract until 2027 with the option of an extra year. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Chelsea have reached a deal with English Premier League champions Manchester City to sign England forward Raheem Sterling for up to £50 million (S$84.1 million), British media reported on Saturday (July 9).

The 27-year-old is set to sign a contract until 2027 with the option of an extra year and will become the Blues' first major signing under the new ownership led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, which completed the takeover of the club in late May from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Sterling played 47 games in all competitions for City last season, scoring 17 times and providing nine assists.

After starting his top-flight career with Liverpool and spending three full seasons at Anfield, Sterling moved to City in July 2015 and established himself as a regular in their frontline, netting 131 times in 337 games for Pep Guardiola's side.

He has won the Premier League and League Cup four times each as well as one FA Cup during his time at the Etihad.

Sterling, however, has fallen down the pecking order over the past two campaigns, playing only a limited role in City's run to their fourth league title in five years and the Champions League semi-final last season, with Guardiola often preferring Phil Foden or Jack Grealish on the left.

He did not make the line-up for either leg of their last-four defeat by Real Madrid and started only six of City's last 11 games in the league, and was on the bench for the season finale against Aston Villa.

However, Sterling remains a sure starter for England boss Gareth Southgate and having been capped 77 times by the Three Lions, he will add much-needed firepower to Chelsea's attack following their struggles in front of goal last season and the departure of record signing Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan on a season-long loan.

Thomas Tuchel's team finished third last season, 19 points behind City and they open their league season with a trip to Everton on Aug 6.

Chelsea reportedly intend to poach more City players once the formalities of Sterling's move are completed.

According to media reports, they have already agreed personal terms with former academy product Nathan Ake and Guardiola's side are willing to do business for over £40 million, with the Dutch defender playing a bit-part role over the past two seasons.

City intend to use the influx of funds to first make a move for Brighton & Hove Albion defender Marc Cucurella. But the Seagulls have slapped a £50 million asking price for the Spain international and have also started talks for a new deal after an impressive first term in England.

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