According to reports coming from The Sun on Friday morning, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is allegedly set for talks with Raheem Sterling after a frantic month for the midfielder.
Surprise reports from Sky Sports on deadline day claimed that Sterling could be utilised in a swap deal that would see Alexis Sanchez join Manchester City, seeing the 22-year-old go in the other direction.
That came in the midst of the controversy surrounding his dismissal in City’s last Premier League outing at Bournemouth, where he was sent off for celebrating his 97th minute winner in the crowd.
And Sterling registered a poor performance on international duty with England in the 4-0 win over Malta, being replaced at half-time and losing his starting berth for the next fixture against Slovakia.
It is understood that, because of the events of the last few weeks, Guardiola will sit Sterling aside and ensure that he doesn’t let his head drop as City look to kick-start their Premier League campaign again.
The Manchester City manager was questioned about the Sterling-Sanchez situation during a pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon but he was quick to ridicule the idea of the swap-deal.
Reported by BBC Sport, Guardiola said:
“When we started to speak with Arsenal in the last days, they wanted to make a swap with Raz [Raheem Sterling]. They talked to me and I said no chance, zero chance.
“Not one per cent chance we will swap Raz because I trust a lot in him. He’s 22-years-old, English player, there is a lot of room to improve.”
And when pressed on whether City will go in again for Sanchez in January, he continued:
“I don’t know what will happen in the winter. Sometimes deals work, sometimes not.”
In other, less pleasing news for City supporters, the City boss confirmed that captain Vincent Kompany will be absent from tomorrow’s clash with Liverpool after suffering a knock with Belgium.
As quoted by BBC Sport, Guardiola admitted that the 31-year-old is suffering from a minor calf problem picked up whilst on international duty but he went on to insist that it’s nothing too serious.
Addressing Kompany’s latest injury problem, he said:
“He has a little problem in his calf. I don’t think he will be fit tomorrow. It’s not major.
“In pre-season he played 90 minutes for three games no problem at all. Now we start the period where we play every three days and unfortunately we lost him.”
Kompany hasn’t trained with Manchester City’s first-team over the past two days, and boss Guardiola may have one eye on City’s Champions League clash with Feyenoord next Wednesday.