Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

Barcelona are looking to strengthen their defence in the transfer market after club president Joan Laporta claimed they had seen off competition from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain for Robert Lewandowski.

The Catalan giants have made several additions as Xavi bids to better last season's second-placed league finish, acquiring Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, Leeds United's Raphinha and Bayern Munich great Lewandowski.

Barca finished some 13 points behind rivals Real Madrid last season, although that represented an achievement of sorts with the Catalan giants having sat ninth in LaLiga when Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman.

In an interview with Hristo Stoichkov for TUDN during Barca's pre-season tour of the United States, Laporta said their business is not yet complete.

"Now we are going to work on the defence," Laporta said. "Xavi has us oriented with a series of players and I hope that the Catalans will have new joys, because the Catalans like Lewandowski.

"This team gives you a guarantee of work, it gives you a guarantee that the players have a profile that is hungry, and we are trying to ensure that they have a better environment. 

"Xavi knows what the fans want, so that when we go to the stadium we have a good time and see that genuine style, playing football with maximum expression and also with goals. 

"Verticality, pressure, possession, control of the ball, all this Xavi wants to implement at its maximum expression."

Barcelona have been strongly linked with moves for Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso after boasting just the sixth-strongest defensive record in LaLiga last season, conceding 38 goals (more than Sevilla, Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Villarreal).

Meanwhile, 12 teams in the Spanish top flight bettered Barca's tally of 11 clean sheets last season.

The signing of Lewandowski, who scored 50 goals in all competitions during his final season with Bundesliga champions Bayern, represents the biggest coup of the transfer window for Barcelona, and Laporta claims they were not the only party pushing hard to sign him.

"We made a first offer and it ended at 45 [million euros], plus five. It's within our possibilities, the player has also adjusted his salary to be within our possibilities and the Catalans are now very happy", Laporta added. 

"We have competed with teams like PSG and Chelsea, and the player wanted to come to Barca. This is what I like.

"As Johan [Cruyff] said, 'I want players who want to come to Barca', and we have to thank him because he has been earning less and enduring great pressure from Bayern, for whom I have great respect.

"Barca needs, like any great team, a goalscoring striker. He is a goalscoring machine gun. 

 

"This player has been awarded the golden boot several times, if you look at his record he guarantees a goal, and every great team needs a striker who guarantees you goals.

"I think that Johan would like Lewandowski – he is a goalscoring striker, different from others we have had.

"Also, with [Ousmane] Dembele, Raphinha, Ferran Torres, who for me is a player who has a goal and has a lot of potential, all of them and Ansu [Fati], [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang - it's going well, it's progressing very well, we have a forward [line] with guarantees of putting on a show and scoring goals.

"I want Barca to become a world reference again. In the economic sphere, we are recovering the club, we are achieving it, although we have to work more. 

"But the football side of things does not wait and I think we are doing a good job."

West Ham are reportedly confident they will be able to land 20-year-old Lille midfielder Amadou Onana after increasing their bid for the Belgium international.

Onana, who made his senior international debut on June 3 against the Netherlands in Nations League action, enjoyed a terrific first season in Ligue 1 after leaving Hamburg in Bundesliga 2 for a £6million fee.

The defensive midfielder totalled 41 club appearances in the season, including eight games in the Champions League, but the Hammers may face some competition for his signature from within the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – WEST HAM SET SIGHTS ON LILLE'S BIG BELGIAN YOUNGSTER

According to The Athletic, West Ham had a £25million bid rejected by the French club, but the Evening Standard claims that the English side are confident an increased bid of £30m plus add-ons will get the job done.

However, The Athletic's report states that there is also interest in Onana coming from Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United, which could throw a wrench in West Ham's plans.

West Ham appear to still have plenty of business to take care of, with the Evening Standard also linking them with a £30m move for 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, as well as trying to convince Jesse Lingard to return after a successful loan stint in the latter half of the 2020-2021 season.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Sport, Barcelona are trying to attach Memphis Depay to their offer for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after not meeting the €65m asking price, while Marca claims Chelsea have already agreed to personal terms with him and have offered Sevilla €55m.

– AS is reporting that Atletico Madrid have enquired with Cristiano Ronaldo's representatives about the superstar's interest in joining the club.

Leeds United and West Ham are said to be competing for £34m Rennes striker Martin Terrier, according to L'Equipe.

– Calciomercato claims Paris Saint-Germain have been offering Georginio Wijnaldum to Roma and Milan in an effort to move him on from the club, despite arriving on a free transfer 12 months ago.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester City have a bid ready to go for 23-year-old Brighton fullback Marc Cucurella to replace the outgoing Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Milan midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was stopped by officers and held at gunpoint earlier this month in what police have described as "a misunderstanding".

The Frenchman was halted by armed officers on July 3 and video footage showed him being searched.

The club officially have refused to comment on the matter, but did confirm that it was the 27-year-old captured on video.

A statement from Milan Police released to the outlet CNN on Monday confirmed that they had stopped the wrong man, while stressing their actions were legal and that Bakayoko had not sought to take any action.

"With reference to the video released today, related to a police check carried out against the Milan player Tiemoue Bakayoko, we underline that the check -- occurred during an operation whose context justified the adoption of the highest security measures, also for self-protection purposes -- was carried out in a manner that was absolutely consistent with the situation of danger," a police statement said.

"Once the person was identified and his being unrelated to the facts had been clarified, the police duties resumed regularly, without any kind of complaint on behalf of the person involved.

"It was a misunderstanding, but colleagues behaved correctly."

Bakayoko is beginning the second year of a two-season loan spell at San Siro from Chelsea.

Chelsea have continued their boardroom reshuffle by appointing the Carolina Panthers' former president Tom Glick as the Blues' president of business.

Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed a £4.25billion takeover of Chelsea at the end of May, making numerous changes to start their tenure.

Blues president Bruce Buck departed, along with technical and performance advisor Petr Cech and director and chief decision-maker Marina Granovskaia.

While head coach Thomas Tuchel and Boehly are working together on transfer activity, Chelsea have acted by bringing in Glick, who has sizeable knowledge of English football.

The 30-year-old has worked as a former executive at Manchester City's parent company City Football Group, while playing a role in the Football League Board and the FA Council.

Prior to his role with City Football Group, Glick was Derby County's chief executive officer between 2008 and 2012, when the Rams were an established Premier League side.

Glick, who oversaw the creation of Major League Soccer team Charlotte FC, also has experience in the NFL, having held the presidential role with the Panthers.

"Tom's successful track record as a leader and innovator at several respected and winning sport organisations made him the obvious choice for this position," Boehly told the club's website after the appointment was announced.

"His skills and experience will be vital as we improve Chelsea FC's key infrastructure, expand the club's products and reputation, and find exciting new ways for our loyal supporters to engage with their favourite players."

Glick also outlined his reasons for taking the role, saying: "Chelsea FC is an iconic sports institution, known and admired all over the world. I have been very impressed with the vision and mission of Todd Boehly and Clearlake.

"They have the Chelsea community at the heart of everything they do. We have a huge opportunity here to enhance performance across the board, on behalf of everyone we serve."

Roma's project under Jose Mourinho may have approached a fork in the road, despite winning the Europa Conference League last season.

Confirming the departures of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pau Lopez, while bringing in Zeki Celik and Nemanja Matic, the squad is slowly starting to look more like Mourinho's.

They still need a creative talent to tie it all together, though, and it appears they might land one of the biggest free agents on the market.

 

TOP STORY – ROMA MAKE MOVE FOR DYBALA

Paulo Dybala could make a shock move to Roma, reportedly accepting their offer for him to join the club on a free transfer, according to Gianluca di Marzio.

After Inter backed out of the race to secure his signature following the expiry of his contract at Juventus, Napoli and Roma emerged as potential destinations for the 28-year-old.

The Argentina international has reportedly accepted Roma's offer, a three-year deal worth a gross salary of €6million a season plus bonuses.

 

ROUND-UP

Frenkie de Jong is opposed to joining Manchester United and has imposed on Barcelona his preference for Bayern Munich, Sport is reporting.

– The same publication is also reporting Tottenham are prepared to pay £14.4m (€17m) for Memphis Depay but the 28-year-old is also reluctant to leave Barcelona.

– Meanwhile, Barca have turned their attention to signing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, per Marca.

Chelsea striker Armando Broja will join West Ham on a season-long loan, according to the Daily Mail.

The dissonance of winning the Premier League and another Champions League knockout exit has prompted more spending for Manchester City this close season.

While Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips make for high-profile signings, Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have headed for the exit.

According to reports, however, City are not willing to let one particular player go despite interest from abroad.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TO FIGHT FOR BERNARDO SILVA

Manchester City have no intention of selling Bernardo Silva to Barcelona this window, despite reports in Spain suggesting otherwise.

Pep Guardiola was prepared to let the talented midfielder move to Spain last year for personal reasons, but Barcelona failed to come up with the necessary funds to make a deal happen.

In the meantime, the Portugal international has become a pivotal piece in City's midfield, with Guardiola now viewing him as an important part of his plan's for this upcoming season.

Despite suggestions from Spain that City have given Silva's agent Jorge Mendes the clearance to finalise a deal, the Premier League champions are reportedly looking to keep their star.

 

ROUND-UP

– Meanwhile, City appear set to sell Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal for £30million, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Chelsea will make a move for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after failing to secure Nathan Ake's signature, per The Times

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has informed the club's hierarchy to persist for Frenkie de Jong's signature, even if he has not joined them by the start of the Premier League season, The Guardian is reporting.

Juventus are in contact with Atletico Madrid to bring back Alvaro Morata after his two-year loan spell at the club ended at the end of last season, Calciomercato reports.

Chelsea have marked Sevilla's Jules Kounde as their centre-back of the future after a deal for Manchester City's Nathan Ake fell apart.

An agreement had been taking shape to bring 27-year-old Ake back to Stamford Bridge – where he began his Premier League career – before City decided to retain the services of the Netherlands international.

Instead, 23-year-old Kounde is now in Chelsea's sights, likely as a long-term solution after also securing 31-year-old centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for a fee reportedly just shy of £34million.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA ENTER THE KOUNDE RACE

Kounde has already racked up 150 games of top league experience between his time with Bordeaux in Ligue 1 and Sevilla in LaLiga, and is expected to cost in the range of £56million, according to ESPN.

The France international, with 11 senior caps for his country, also has an impeccable injury history, tallying 184 appearances in all club competitions in just the past four seasons, with no significant injuries.

Chelsea will be mainly competing against Barcelona, with the Spanish giants reportedly already agreeing to personal terms with Kounde, and reports claim they are willing to exchange Memphis Depay or Sergino Dest to get a deal done.

Barcelona may be unable to afford the move unless Sevilla are willing to take back a player, as their £65m deal for Raphinha and their chase of Robert Lewandowski could restrict their financial flexibility

ROUND-UP

Aston Villa have placed a £20million price tag on 18-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka to try to fend off interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Newcastle United, according to Talksport.

– The Athletic is reporting that 29-year-old Jesse Lingard is considering a highly paid move to Saudi Arabia.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are set to agree to personal terms with Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko.

– Sky Sport in Germany claims Bayern Munich are close to securing Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt for around €80million.

– The Independent is reporting that William Saliba will try to push his way out of Arsenal if he is not guaranteed a place in Mikel Arteta's starting line-up, with Marseille and Atletico Madrid named as interested parties.

Thomas Tuchel has achieved his "top priority" for the transfer window by signing Raheem Sterling, while the Chelsea head coach cannot foresee Robert Lewandowski arriving.

Sterling joined Manchester City for a reported fee in the region of £45million on Wednesday, as Chelsea confirmed their first signing since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the Blues.

The England international, who signed a five-year deal with Chelsea, scored 17 goals in all competitions for City last season, a tally bettered by only Riyad Mahrez (24) and Kevin De Bruyne (19).

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo has also been linked to Stamford Bridge, alongside Barcelona's top target Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski scored 50 goals in all competitions last term, the most of any player across Europe's top five leagues, and Tuchel appreciates his quality but does not envisage bringing him in.

"I don't think we have a chance for Lewandowski but if there is a chance, he is one of the best number nines," said Tuchel.

"The priority is not on the number nine position right now. We have our top priority [Sterling], we have got our top priority signed. It makes me very, very happy and from there we are very flexible.

"He was the absolute number one for that position. I gave his name to Todd straight away. Every time we played against him, he's horrible to play against, horrible!

"The main point is his intensity and the amount of repetition of intensity that he delivers. This is simply outstanding over the last years.

"It's exactly what we need to raise the level of our players. That's why we are so sure and that's why he was, for us, top of the list.

"Our goal threat should be enough right now. If we think something crazy comes up that we don’t see, maybe we will get involved, maybe not."

 

The versatile Sterling is expected to bring experience to the Chelsea attack, a feature lacking at the back for the Blues after the departure of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Cesar Azpilicueta is reportedly wanted by Barca as well, while Chelsea appear set to bring in Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly to somewhat fill the void in defence.

The minimum requirement for success under Boehly will be a top-four Premier League finish to qualify for the Champions League, and Tuchel acknowledged he must rebuild to develop a competitive squad.

"I think with Thiago [Silva] in the middle, Toni on the left and Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] or Andreas [on the right] we had the best back-three in the world," he added.

"It's possible [to rebuild at short notice]. We can, we have to. I think we can put a structure in place and we have a structure on which we can rely on.

"For example, if we play against Everton, Thiago can play, Trevoh Chalobah can hopefully play, and Azpi is at the moment here. 

"If there are guys still to be signed or not fully aware of the principles, I don't want to use it as an excuse. When I came in, I had one day to start with the back-three because it was a fit and I still think it will be a fit.

"The first 10 days or 11 days with the group have been outstanding. The mentality, worth ethic and quality in training is absolutely impressive and this makes me very happy.

"I want to be ready when we play Everton. I want to win and I will demand it from myself, my team and all my players.

"The team will be strong. I am not ready to use it as an excuse even though it is maybe true that we are in transition. We can, I can focus, I think the team can focus on what makes us strong and we can take it step by step and work out how to win games."

While Chelsea made their long-awaited first signing in Sterling, top-four rivals Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City have all been busy in the transfer window.

Tuchel was quick to hail the transfer dealings of Antonio Conte, who looks set to seal his sixth signing of the transfer window in Djed Spence, and conceded Chelsea will have to catch up with their competitors.

"I mean it when I said we fight against the best teams and the best coaches, which does not make life easier and they set the bar so high last season, but we start again from scratch," said Tuchel. 

"So we will try again. I can promise you that everybody is ready to try again. We will not give in before we play games. That's why the sanctions did not help. We lost important players and the other teams are recruiting, and did not have the losses that we had.

"If you look at the transfer period of Tottenham with Antonio Conte, it's maybe the strongest team they ever built. Manchester United will not give in, Arsenal will not give in, they've made two big signings already, so we are aware of the situation and try to do our best to be competitive."

Thomas Tuchel has not ruled out signing another striker but refused to be drawn on whether Chelsea could move for Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski.

The Blues on Wednesday made their first big signing of the Todd Boehly era, landing Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for a fee reported to be in the region of £45million.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge after he did not travel to Thailand and Australia for Manchester United's pre-season tour.

Lewandowski has informed Bayern Munich he wants a new challenge, although Barcelona are the favourites to sign the prolific striker.

Tuchel says the London club may bring in further firepower, but gave little away when asked about Ronaldo and Lewandowski.

He told Sky Sports: "I will not comment on them, their careers speak for themselves and it's not needed that I give another comment and put rumours out there, which do not help anybody. We will announce when something is to be announced."

Asked about the prospect of signing another striker, he said: "I would not rule it out, but it's not the priority. I think the priority right now is defence, which everybody knows, it's not a secret. We need to see what is possible."

Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly is expected to bolster Chelsea's defence, while Nathan Ake appears set to return to the club from City after sanctions were lifted on the club following a change of ownership.

Tuchel says it is vital more new faces arrive, with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku having departed.

The German said: "The stakes are high and we're competing not only against the best teams who have ever played in the Premier League but also the best coaches,

"We come from sanctions, we come from losing top-quality players, key players, we are a club in transition, in transition of ownership, we were behind in the transfer race and we were behind in the table. So we have things to improve.

"The signing of Raheem shows what we're capable of doing, it shows the ambition of the club and the ownership and it's good because we're all here to win and compete.

"We love to compete and we love the challenge at the very top. For that we need signings of new quality players or otherwise there's no chance."

 

After last season's disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal, Bayern Munich are on the verge of transforming their team in one transfer window.

Sadio Mane and Ryan Gravenberch are potentially transformative signings for Bayern, and they apparently are not done just yet.

According to reports, Gravenberch's international team-mate is doing to what he can to force a move to Sabener Strasse.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT BAYERN'S TOP TARGET

Bayern Munich are reportedly edging closer to securing the signature of wantaway Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Bild.

De Ligt is reportedly willing to lower his wage demands in order to help force through a move, after a gap in expectations between the two clubs over the initial offer.

Bayern's proposal to the Bianconeri was reportedly €70million with an extra €10m in bonuses, with the latter looking at €80m as a base to any package.

De Ligt's move to lower wage expectations gives the reigning Bundesliga champions added leverage over Juventus, who after Paulo Dybala's departure, would not want to see another star run down their contract.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are now targeting PSG centre-back Presnel Kimpembe after almost securing Kalidou Koulibaly's signature, The Guardian reports.

– Meanwhile, Mason Mount is seeking to begin negotiations with the Blues over a new long-term deal, per The Athletic

– Ousmane Dembele is set to sign a new two-year contract with Barcelona after his previous deal expired, Sport is reporting.

– Charles de Ketelaere prefers a move to Milan despite interest from Leeds United for the Club Brugge striker, according to Fabrizio Romano.

 

Raheem Sterling has completed his move to Chelsea from Premier League rivals Manchester City, the Blues have confirmed.

The England forward moves for a reported fee in the region of £45million and is Chelsea's first major signing since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the club.

Sterling – who had just one year remaining on his contract at the Etihad Stadium – has signed a five-year deal with Chelsea.

The 27-year-old scored 17 goals in all competitions for Pep Guardiola's team last season, a tally only bettered by Riyad Mahrez (24) and Kevin De Bruyne (19), as they conducted a successful defence of their title.

But an exit for the England star always looked possible after City signed Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, with fellow attacker Gabriel Jesus also being allowed to join a Premier League rival in Arsenal earlier this month.

Now, Sterling will link up with Thomas Tuchel's side for their pre-season tour of the United States, as they look to build on a third-placed finish last season.

"First and foremost, it's a pleasure to be here," Sterling told Chelsea's official website.

"I've obviously achieved a lot in my career so far, but there is still so much more to achieve and I'm really looking forward to doing that in a Chelsea shirt, under Thomas's management.

"London is my home and where it all started for me, and it's amazing I now have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family week in, week out at Stamford Bridge. I'm really looking forward to meeting the fans there soon.

"I do want to take the opportunity to thank Todd, Behdad, the ownership group, Thomas, and all involved in the process of getting me here.

"I can't wait to get going now and continue to do my talking on the pitch."

Sterling's move will see him return to London, where he grew up and spent time in QPR's youth system before joining Liverpool as a 15-year-old.

The forward, a key part of the England side that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the Euro 2020 final, will hope a move to Stamford Bridge provides a guarantee of first-team football ahead of the World Cup in Qatar after he started just 23 of City's 38 league games last season.

Sterling won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four EFL Cups in Manchester after joining from Liverpool in 2015.

Raheem Sterling has completed his move to Chelsea from Premier League rivals Manchester City, the Blues have confirmed.

The England forward moves for a reported £45million fee and is Chelsea's first major signing since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the club.

Sterling – who had just one year remaining on his contract at the Etihad Stadium, has signed a five-year deal with Chelsea.

The 27-year-old scored 17 goals in all competitions for Pep Guardiola's team last season, a tally only bettered by Riyad Mahrez (24) and Kevin De Bruyne (19), as they conducted a successful defence of their title.

But an exit for the England star always looked possible after City signed Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, with fellow attacker Gabriel Jesus also being allowed to join a Premier League rival in Arsenal earlier this month.

Now, Sterling will link up with Thomas Tuchel's side for their pre-season tour of the United States, as they look to build on a third-placed finish last season.

"First and foremost, it's a pleasure to be here," Sterling told Chelsea's official website.

"I've obviously achieved a lot in my career so far, but there is still so much more to achieve and I'm really looking forward to doing that in a Chelsea shirt, under Thomas's management.

"London is my home and where it all started for me, and it's amazing I now have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family week in, week out at Stamford Bridge. I'm really looking forward to meeting the fans there soon.

"I do want to take the opportunity to thank Todd, Behdad, the ownership group, Thomas, and all involved in the process of getting me here.

"I can't wait to get going now and continue to do my talking on the pitch."

Sterling's move will see him return to London, where he grew up and spent time in QPR's youth system before joining Liverpool as a 15-year-old.

The forward, a key part of the England side that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the Euro 2020 final, will hope a move to Stamford Bridge provides a guarantee of first-team football ahead of the World Cup in Qatar after he started just 23 of City's 38 league games last season.

Sterling won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four EFL Cups in Manchester after joining from Liverpool in 2015.

Transfers between the Premier League's so-called 'big six' have become something of a rarity in recent years, but the trend has re-emerged with Raheem Sterling's switch to Chelsea.

The Blues confirmed on Wednesday that Sterling has moved to Stamford Bridge on a five-year contract, with Manchester City accepting a reported £45million offer for the England international.

He made at least 46 appearances in each of his seven seasons at City, yet it was claimed Pep Guardiola was unable to provide assurances over his playing time next term.

That, apparently, is what led to Sterling seeking an exit, and Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea appear a fine fit stylistically.

With that in mind, it's a deal that will perplex many, given how important Sterling has been for City over the course of his stay in Manchester.

On top of that, City appear to be strengthening a team who would regard themselves direct rivals of the Premier League champions.

Sterling hasn't depreciated this significantly since Brexit, with City taking a sizeable risk wilfully offloading such a player.

A transformed talent

It would be fair to suggest Sterling has been a little inconsistent over the past two years, with his respective goals hauls of 14 and 17 across all competitions a bit of a drop-off.

Yet both of those are respectable figures and only serve to highlight just how good Sterling – very much approaching his peak at 27 years old – can be in the right context.

After modest returns in his first two years at the club, Sterling hit 20-plus goals in three successive campaigns, including 31 in 52 games in the 2019-20 season.

 

With Chelsea allowing Romelu Lukaku to return to Inter and the underwhelming Timo Werner seemingly available for transfer, the Blues are crying out for a dependable source of goals. Sterling could be that player.

While Guardiola's management style may be what's made Sterling look for pastures new, it was also the Catalan's coaching that helped transform Sterling into the player he is now.

As mentioned, Sterling was nowhere near as decisive at Liverpool or in his first two years at City as he has been over the past five years. Of course, part of that can be explained simply by development and progression. After all, he was 20 when he left the Reds.

 

But Guardiola's coaching, and how he has utilised Sterling, shouldn't be glossed over. Since he became City coach in 2016, Sterling has scored 27 Premier League goals from inside the six-yard box, which is five more than anyone else (Harry Kane, 22).

He knows how to be in the right place at the right time, and that requires supreme intelligence.

No one-trick pony

The fact Sterling's been able to make himself such a goalmouth threat despite not being regarded as an out-and-out striker is impressive, and it speaks to his well-roundedness as an attacker.

Under Guardiola, he's essentially averaged a goal every other game (one every 179 minutes) in the Premier League, with his haul of 85 bettered by only five players since the start of the 2016-17 season.

 

But his creativity shouldn't be ignored. Over the same period, he has laid on 296 chances for team-mates. That sees him ranked 10th overall in the Premier League.

Additionally, only three players have a better expected assists (xA) record than Sterling (34) since August 2017 (when Opta started collecting the data), and two of those are regular set-piece takers.

Sterling's strengths don't begin and end there, though. 

He's quick, strong despite his size, a leader and clearly very experienced. On his last Premier League appearance for City, he was aged 27 years and 165 days – only four players have had more Premier League goal involvements at that age than Sterling.

 

Just 11 players in Premier League history have reached 200 goal involvements, and he's already only 35 off that. In fact, he's potentially just one very good season from reaching the milestone.

Of course, it shouldn't be just blindly accepted that Sterling will be an incredible signing for Chelsea. They've had their fair share of expensive flops over the years, with Lukaku the most recent – few expected him to have such a minimal impact.

But Sterling's tremendous arsenal of attributes may give him greater scope to be influential. Maybe he won't create as much, but he could still be a primary goal threat, and he also appears to be a good fit for the kind of high-tempo football Tuchel likes to play. 

The over-riding feeling is that Sterling's sale suggests a degree of underappreciation for him, particularly given City aren't selling him for anything more than they paid seven years ago.

Chelsea, on the other hand, appear to be getting a bargain.

Raheem Sterling says he leaves Manchester City "as a man" as he bid farewell to the club ahead of his transfer to Chelsea.

Sterling is set to end his seven-year association with City and join Premier League rivals Chelsea in a reported £50m move.

The former Liverpool forward is said to have flown out to Los Angeles to complete the transfer and link up with Chelsea's pre-season tour.

Sterling won four Premier League titles, the FA Cup and four EFL Cups during his time at the club.

He also developed into one of the most dynamic attacking threats in European football under Pep Guardiola, scoring 85 Premier League goals since the former Barcelona boss took over as manager in 2016.

The England international will look to have a similar impact for Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea but made clear his affection for City in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.

He wrote: "To the coaching staff who have played a massive role in my development over the years, to my team-mates who have become more than just those I share a pitch with, to the backroom staff, to the office staff, to the fans who have tirelessly supported the team, and to everyone involved with Manchester City my respect for you couldn't be greater. What a ride it's been.

"I am thankful for the ups and the downs. as it's the downs that have, at times, tested my strength and resolve and enabled me to stand here in front of you as the best possible version of myself.

"I arrived in Manchester a 20-year-old, today I leave as a man. Thank you for your endless support. It's been an honour to wear the shirt of Manchester City."

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