When Raheem Sterling moved from Liverpool to Manchester City at the age of 20, much of the English football world had made up its mind about the young winger. They said he was talented but cocky. Pacey but lacked skill. He had the attitude but not the killer instancing to score when it counts. Seven years, 131 goals, and nine major trophies later, Sterling has proved them all wrong. Now he’s on his way to Chelsea for $66 million.
From Liverpool washout to Manchester City star
English winger Raheem Sterling made his Premier League debut at just 17 years old with Liverpool. How played the next four seasons in Merseyside, making 129 appearances in all competitions. Sterling scored 23 goals and added 25 assists in this period.
After four seasons, the Jamaican-born speedster wanted a massive contract extension in line with his incredible potential. Liverpool and manager Brendan Rodgers weren’t willing to pay the youngster that much, though. At that young age, Sterling had inconsistent production and a penchant for choking in front of the net.
Manchester City saw the possibilities in the London native and paid Liverpool $59 million for Sterling, making him the most expensive English player ever at the time.
Sterling struggled with form and injuries in his first year in Manchester under manager Manuel Pelligrini.
However, in season two, Pep Guardiola showed up and changed Sterling’s career. Sterling got regular playing time under Guardiola and rewarded the mastermind with double-digit goals, which he would also contribute every season after.
Sterling became a Guardiola favorite and one of the most consistent performers during Manchester City’s stunning run under the manager. Together, the club won four Premier League titles, an FA Cup, three Carabao Cups, and one Champions League Final appearance.
Individually, Sterling’s best season came in 2018-19. City won the domestic treble, and Sterling poured in 25 goals and added 17 assists. That season he made the PFA Team of the Year and was named PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.
During this time, Sterling has also become a key cog in Gareth Southgate’s England teams. He’s helped his country make the 2018 World Cup semifinals and the 2020 Euros finals.
Raheem Sterling Chelsea transfer
Although Raheem Sterling was fourth on the team in appearances in 2021-22, recent additions made the winger expendable. City brought in strikers Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez this offseason to add to forwards Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and Jack Grealish.
Chelsea bringing in Sterling is the first official big acquisition the club has executed since Los Angeles Dodgers owner Todd Boehly bought the London-based franchise in May.
The deal, according to European soccer insider Fabrizio Romano is for $54 million (£45m) plus an additional $12 million (£10m) in add-ons.
Sterling will bring scoring punch to the Blues that Romelu Lukaku (who is on his way back to Inter) didn’t deliver last season. He’ll join a healthy Chelsea attack that includes Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount.
The Sterling transfer also means American superstar Christian Pulisic could be on his way out. He’s already struggled for playing time on the wings, and Sterling’s arrival makes that mix even more crowded.
Chelsea and Manchester City don’t face off during the 2022-23 season until the end of the festive period, on January 2, 2023.
All stats courtesy of Transfermrkt