Sports FOOTBALL Blues to raise Sterling offer as City await player...

Blues to raise Sterling offer as City await player exit


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Manchester City expect Raheem Sterling to leave this summer and Chelsea are poised to step up their interest in the English winger after Romelu Lukaku’s loan spell at Internazionale ends.

Thomas Tuchel is looking to step up his failed attack and Chelsea, who are close to giving Lukaku clearance to return to Inter, are planning to step up their transfer activity soon. Sterling is at the top of their target list and City are unlikely to get in the way of the 27-year-old.

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City have expanded their attacking options by signing Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and River Plate’s Julián Alvarez, and with Sterling’s contract expiring next summer, the champions are poised to cash in on him. It has been speculated that they want between £50m and £60m.

It is unlikely that there will be insufficient interest in Sterling, even though he has not featured in many important City matches over the past two years and his attraction to Chelsea is clear. They lacked a ruthless lead last season with Sterling scoring 17 goals and represented an improvement on many of Tuchel’s last-third options.

Sterling’s ability to play through the front line makes him an attractive option for Tuchel. Chelsea understand it will not be easy to replace Lukaku, who has frustrated since his £97.5m move from Inter last year, with another target player. Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski wants to join Barcelona, ​​City have signed Haaland and Liverpool have signed Darwin Nunez.

This means that Chelsea may look for alternative ways to organize their attack. They are also eyeing Ousmane Dembele as the French winger is expected to leave Barcelona on a free transfer. Tuchel managed Dembele at Dortmund and is highly regarded, although there are doubts about the 25-year-old’s injuries. Another option, RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku, could be out of reach. Chelsea are also interested in City’s Gabriel Jesus, but Arsenal are leading the way in signing the Brazilian.

Lukaku’s return to Inter is a matter of time, sources say. Todd Boly, Chelsea’s new owner, has supported Tuchel’s decision to part ways with the striker. Lukaku doesn’t fit into Tuchel’s system and has a rocky relationship with the German.

The 29-year-old is desperate to return to Inter, who are in talks with Chelsea over a deal. The £10m loan fee could be enough and Inter would also have to cover part of Lukaku’s £325,000 per week wages. A direct loan is easier than a trade, although Chelsea have shown interest in Inter defenders Denzel Dumfries, Alessandro Bastoni and Martin Skriniar.

Chelsea are in need of defensive reinforcements following the departure of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Ruediger, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso also possibly leaving. They are looking to close a deal for Sevilla’s Jules Kunde soon and are targeting Leipzig’s Josco Guardiol, Atlético’s José María Jiménez, Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt and Villarreal’s Pau Torres. There have also been new ties to City’s Nathan Ake, who previously worked at Chelsea.

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It remains to be seen if City would be willing to sell Ake. They are considering whether to sell Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is wanted by Everton and West Ham. Zinchenko has replaced City’s left-back but wants to play in central midfield.

Guardiola is on the hunt for a conventional left-back and is determined to sign Marc Cucurella from Brighton. Brighton wants £50m but City believe £40m might be enough. Chelsea and Newcastle are also interested in Cucurella, but City are his first choice.

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