The agent of the England forward has dismissed reports of an imminent departure from Etihad Stadium
Raheem Sterling remains fully committed to Manchester City despite rumours their shock ban from European competition had put the England forward’s future in doubt.
The football world was left stunned on Friday when the Premier League champions were banned from Europe for two seasons and fined €30 million (£25m/$33m) by UEFA for a “serious” breach of Financial Fair Play rules, though the club have declared their intention to appeal.
Should that appeal fail, the absence of Champions League revenue will leave a large hole in the club’s finances over the next two years, potentially costing them up to £170 million ($222m) in prize money.
Such a shortfall could have serious implications, as the club may struggle to pay the huge wages currently being earned by the likes of Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, as well as curtailing their ability to compete in the transfer market.
Some players may also push for a move as they are reluctant to miss out on two years of Champions League football, particularly those considered to be at the peak of their playing powers.
That has sparked rumours suggesting one or more of the club’s key players could be sold off the balance the books and mitigate the damage caused by the absence of Champions League revenue.
England forward Sterling is one of those players tipped for a potential departure, with newspaper reports over the weekend claiming that Real Madrid are ready to pay in the region of £150 million ($196m) to land the 25-year-old in the summer.
Sterling, though, looks to be going nowhere for the time being.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward said: “Raheem is solely focused on Manchester City and will not be distracted by any talk of transfers to any club at the moment.”
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The news of Sterling’s commitment to the club is a further boost for the Premier League champions after manager Pep Guardiola declared his intention to see out the final year of his contract at Etihad Stadium despite the looming threat of the European ban.
The club remains confident that their appeal through the Court of Arbitration for Sport will succeed and said in a statement that they have “irrefutable evidence” to support their denial of any wrongdoing.
The Premier League champions insist they have not had a fair hearing as UEFA have initiated, reviewed and judged the whole process – essentially acting as judge, jury and executioner.