Does Raheem Sterling deserve a new contract at Man City?

Nicholas Hughes
Does Raheem Sterling deserve a new contract at Man City?

Man City are reportedly looking to lock Raheem Sterling down to a long-term contract in the summer despite the Englishman having arguably his toughest season at the club so far.

The Telegraph are reporting that Pep Guardiola wants to keep hold of the former Liverpool winger, despite admitting he was out of favour in the pecking order last month.

“The reason why he has not played as regularly as in previous seasons is because Phil (Foden) and Riyad (Mahrez) are in top, top form,” he told reporters in April.

Sterling has 10 goals and six assists in the Premier League this season, his lowest combined total since his first two seasons at the club.

According to InStat, the 26-year-old is underperforming his Expected Goals, albeit narrowly, and is performing at just above 50% of last season’s numbers in key passes and chances created.

Raheem Sterling at Man City this season versus last

StatSterling 2019/20Sterling 2020/21
Goals2010
Assists16
xG900.520.38
KP902.31.35
Chances created P901.240.9
League minutes only via InStat

The emergence of Foden as a fully-fledged first-teamer has seen him outperform Sterling throughout the campaign and earn his place in the side.

The 20-year-old outranks Sterling in crosses, passes and final third passes per 90 minutes, per FootballCritic, and this could continue into the Euros with Foden likely to play a big role in Gareth Southgate’s England team.

The upside for Sterling is City’s situation at centre forward, as well as the age of Mahrez with the Algerian being just under four years Sterling’s elder.

Sergio Aguero is leaving the club at the end of the season and Guardiola has repeatedly shown his lack of trust in Gabriel Jesus by preferring the likes of Sterling, Foden and Kevin De Bruyne at the No.9 position despite that not being their position.

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Sterling has actually outperformed Mahrez in pure goals and assists numbers this season, but Mahrez has hit is stride later in the season with four goals and two assists since the last international break, compared to one of each for Sterling.

The City No.7 clearly has the backing of his manager, has the quality and has plenty of time ahead of him to rectify this difficult patch of form.

A new contract would be an opportunity to prove this season is simply a one-off, and his prior success carries over in terms of his credibility for a contract.

However, City would do well to consider how lucrative any new deal might be, in case this season becomes a trend in the coming years for their star man.