Raheem Sterling: Chelsea move ‘makes sense for all’

England star set for return to west London from Manchester City

Raheem Sterling has captained England under Gareth Southgate
Raheem Sterling has captained England under Gareth Southgate
(Image credit: Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling’s transfer from Manchester City to Chelsea looks set to be announced after the England forward completed a medical with the Stamford Bridge club. The 27-year-old, who started his career at the Queens Park Rangers academy, will return to west London in a deal reportedly worth up to £50m including add-ons.

Sterling has “remained Chelsea’s top target this summer”, said Sky Sports. And the Blues are hopeful that the transfer will be completed in time to allow him to join the club’s pre-season tour in the United States. He has agreed personal terms on a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months. It’s just “a matter of time for the official statement”, said football journalist Fabrizio Romano on Twitter.

His opportunities at City were restricted by Jack Grealish’s arrival, while strikers Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez have both signed this summer, said Simon Stone on the BBC. City “wanted Sterling to stay” and he has “no ill feeling towards the club or manager Pep Guardiola”. However, the player “wants a fresh challenge” and he still has “team and professional targets he wants to fulfil, including winning the Ballon d’Or”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Sterling ‘deserves respect’

After joining Liverpool from QPR as a 15-year-old in 2010, Sterling spent five years on Merseyside, scoring 23 goals in 129 appearances. He initially played for the club’s academy before making his senior debut in 2012, aged 17 years and 107 days.

Following a contract dispute he told Liverpool that he wanted to leave in May 2015. At the time former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he was “disappointed” with Sterling’s decision, adding that the forward was at a “different end of the scale” to “professional” Jordan Henderson. Rejecting a new £100,000-a-week deal at Anfield, Sterling denied being a “money-grabbing 20-year-old” in a BBC Sport interview.

Sterling signed for Manchester City for an initial £49m in July 2015 and his time at the Etihad Stadium has “by any definition” been “a success”, Stone said on the BBC. He’s won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups and scored 131 goals in 339 appearances for the Sky Blues.

He’s also become England’s “most important player”, Henry Winter said in The Times in July 2021. Scoring many “crucial goals”, including three at last year’s Euros, Sterling “deserves respect”, Winter added. Under head coach Gareth Southgate he’s also captained the national team.

‘Proven’ Premier League goalscorer

An “intelligent” leader and “proven” Premier League goalscorer, Sterling’s move to Chelsea “makes sense for all involved”, said Jacob Steinberg in The Guardian. The news has “gone down well” in Chelsea’s dressing room and head coach Thomas Tuchel is getting a “solid professional” whose “commitment can never be questioned”.

Despite his goal record at Man City – he’s scored on average 22 goals for the club across the past five seasons – Sterling is still “seriously underrated”, said Adam Bate on Sky Sports. That might be because his finishing is “misunderstood”. Sterling’s game is “unusually focused” on the chances that people expect players to score. “His goals often look easier. And so do the chances he misses.”

New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly “copped some flack” for revealing he would be “taking the wheel of the summer transfer drive”, said Michael Hincks on Eurosport. But “few will disagree that this is a very impressive start”. Signing Sterling is an “un-Boehly-vable” piece of business from Chelsea.

There has also been speculation that the Blues are interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. Ronaldo “may be glamorous”, but Sterling is “a far more sensible signing”, Steinberg added. For Chelsea, boss Tuchel and the team as a whole, “it has to be the way forward”.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.