Rumour Has It: Real Madrid turn their attention to Raheem Sterling

By Sports Desk May 24, 2022

Real Madrid have set their sights on Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling after missing out on Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

The Spanish giants were widely regarded as favourites to land Mbappe until a late change of heart led to him signing a three-year extension to stay in France.

Madrid and City went head to head in the Champions League semi-final, but they may find themselves talking business soon for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS PREPARE BID FOR STERLING

Sterling has spent seven seasons with City, racking up 131 goals in 338 appearances in all club competitions, and has played no fewer than 46 games in any of those campaigns.

Despite this, his playing time waned in the closing stages of this season, culminating in the Champions League when he only played a combined 28 minutes across both fixtures against Madrid.

Sterling set a record at the time for the most expensive transfer of an English player when he was sold to City for £44million plus add-ons in 2015, but Madrid are not looking to overshoot that number by much, with the Daily Star reporting they will offer £50million.

ROUND-UP

– According to Sky Sports, Sadio Mane fancies a move to Bayern Munich in the upcoming transfer window.

– The Telegraph is reporting Tottenham will sign six players, heavily investing in an attempt to convince Antonio Conte to stay.

– The Telegraph is also reporting one player high on Tottenham's wish-list is Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who also has strong interest from Arsenal.

Arsenal will try to sell as many as seven first-team players in the upcoming transfer window – with Hector Bellerin and Bernd Leno named by The Sun. The Telegraph added that Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is a key target for the Gunners.

– The Times is reporting Leeds United are set to sign 21-year-old USA international Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg for £23m.

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    Connor Roberts, Archie Gray and Patrick Bamford all struck for Leeds in the final 10 minutes after Wout Faes’ first-half header had given Championship leaders Leicester a deserved lead.

    Farke’s side equalled a 92-year club record of nine straight league wins and extended their unbeaten run at Elland Road this season, while the German is the first Leeds manager to remain undefeated in his first 19 home games in charge.

    The former Norwich boss, whose side have cut the gap on Leicester to six points after trailing them by 17 at the turn of the year, said: “It’s a great evening for everyone connected with Leeds United.

    “To be there with a ninth win in a row, unbeaten here at Elland Road (this season) – there are many record-breaking statistics.

    “But even more important is the feeling and the spirit. You could feel it in the celebrations of the whole stadium.

    “You could see what it means to everyone connected with this club after some really tough years, many disappointments and days of suffering.

    “To experience such a period when you feel everything is really united here – players, staff, supporters, the whole club.

    “We’re delivering such performances and such results. It’s great and I’m delighted for our supporters. They can enjoy their weekend in a proper way, that’s for sure.”

    Leicester had been good value for their slender lead after Faes headed in from a corner but were punished for some glaring misses and slipped to back-to-back league defeats.

    Jannik Vestergaard’s second-half header went within a whisker of giving the Foxes a 2-0 lead when it hit a post and Patson Daka had an effort wrongly ruled out for offside.

    Stephy Mavididi fired a fraction wide and Daka pulled another golden chance off target.

    On the disallowed goal, Leicester boss Enzo Maresca said: “I didn’t watch to be honest, so I can’t say anything.

    “But until the goal we conceded in the 80th minute, we dominated and controlled the game.

    “We created many chances and at the end it was a matter of the chances that we missed.”

    The Italian admitted his players reacted badly to conceding Leeds substitute Roberts’ equaliser.

    “In the last 10 minutes, in this kind of game in this stadium, it’s easy when you concede a goal that you drop a little or mentally they are better than us,” he added.

    “We feel bad because we dropped points, but at the same I feel very proud because we came here with the personality we showed.”

  • We want to be there – Pep Guardiola determined to keep Man City on their perch We want to be there – Pep Guardiola determined to keep Man City on their perch

    Pep Guardiola has warned Sir Jim Ratcliffe Manchester City will not be knocked off their perch easily.

    The City boss has also pointed out to Manchester United’s newly-arrived major investor that reaching the top of the game – and staying there – will be a tough challenge.

    Ratcliffe this week reprised the words of Sir Alex Ferguson when setting out his ambition for the Old Trafford club.

    The billionaire Ineos owner, who has acquired a 27.7 per cent stake in United, said he wanted to knock both City and Liverpool, whom the Red Devils have fallen behind significantly in recent years, “off their perch”.

    Ferguson famously spoke in similar terms in his early days as United manager in the late 1980s when Liverpool were the dominant force.

    Guardiola said: “I’m pretty sure with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the other people that United are going to take a step forwards.

    “But that is normal, it’s not just United. All the teams want it. We want to be there and, as long as I’m here, we will try to be there again.

    “What I want is Man City, my team, being there. The rest, I don’t care. We want to be there.”

    The on-field gulf between United and present-day City is wide, with Guardiola’s men having won 14 trophies in the past six years to their rivals’ one, capped by last season’s treble.

    Guardiola says that success is down to a lot of hard work both on and off the field.

    He said: “You don’t have success if all the elements of the club are not together, it’s impossible. It doesn’t belong to one player, one manager, one anything.

    “All the details have to be on the same path, aligned, all of them, otherwise it’s more difficult.

    “Still we are there after what happened over seven or eight years. Few clubs can do it and still we are there. The biggest contenders know how difficult it is.”

    It is rare for anyone connected to United to speak of City, or Liverpool, in such positive terms as Ratcliffe – even if he did also refer to those clubs as “the enemy”.

    Guardiola, whose side travel to Brighton in the Premier League this weekend, feels that acknowledgement is perhaps United’s first step on a journey back towards the top.

    He said: “It’s the truth! As (soon) as the teams admit it, they will be closer to us. If they want to deny it for things that are not the reality then it’s their problem. It’s not our problem.

    “When I’ve been below teams I’ve always admired them and thought about what we need to do to be close, to challenge them.

    “When we were below and United were winning, we were watching them, admiring them. We wanted to learn from them. The period of Sir Alex Ferguson – the generation with Roy Keane, David Beckham, Gary Neville – and all those big, big players, Rio Ferdinand – I’m pretty sure City admired and thought, ‘We want to be there’.

    “Now we are there. That’s why, for these type of comments, I have the feeling that they will be back.”

  • Leeds’ comeback win over Leicester throws Championship title race wide open Leeds’ comeback win over Leicester throws Championship title race wide open

    Leeds struck three late goals at a bouncing Elland Road to beat Leicester 3-1 and throw the Sky Bet Championship title race wide open.

    Leicester appeared to be tightening their grip on top spot after Wout Faes’ first-half header, but Leeds hit back in a roaring finish with goals from Connor Roberts, Archie Gray and Patrick Bamford.

    Daniel Farke’s side equalled a club-record nine straight league wins – set in 1931 – extending their unbeaten start to the year and closing the gap on leaders Leicester to six points.

    The Foxes, who had been 17 points ahead of Leeds at the start of 2024, had been good value for their slender lead, but were punished for some glaring misses as they slipped to back-to-back league defeats.

    Leicester were first to threaten through Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s low effort and went close again through a header from Patson Daka, whose fierce drive soon after forced Illan Meslier into a flying save.

    Daka was involved again when Leicester took a 15th-minute lead, flicking on Dewsbury-Hall’s corner for the unmarked Faes to head home at the far post.

    The Belgium defender’s third-ever goal for the Foxes was the first Leeds had conceded in six league matches and they set about making amends.

    Joel Piroe headed wide, Willy Gnonto’s shot was blocked and Leicester centre-half Jannik Vestergaard brilliantly denied Crysencio Summerville a shooting chance in front of goal.

    It was fast and furious as Leeds pinned Leicester back in search of an equaliser, but the visitors’ backline, bolted together by big Dane Vestergaard, held firm until half-time.

    Georginio Rutter curled wide early in the second period and with Leeds committing men forward, Leicester were measured and incisive on the break.

    The Foxes showed they were a step up from the opposition that Leeds had recently faced and it took another full-stretch save from Meslier to keep out Stephy Mavididi’s angled shot.

    Vestergaard then headed Dewsbury-Hall’s corner against a post and Daka thought he had put his side 2-0 up, only for his follow-up effort to be ruled out for offside.

    Mavididi raced on to Dewsbury-Hall’s slide-rule pass to shoot agonisingly wide before an increasingly frustrated home crowd was lifted by Summerville’s blocked shot.

    Daka wasted a golden chance to double the Foxes’ lead in the 73rd minute when dragging his effort off-target after another rapier counter-attack.

    Leeds were struggling to gain momentum as the game entered the final 15 minutes, repeatedly repelled by Leicester’s two walls of blue.

    But the Whites turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes.

    Roberts, a 73rd-minute replacement for Junior Firpo, lashed home a rebound into the bottom corner after Rutter had been tackled inside the penalty area to equalise in the 80th minute.

    And with Leeds fans still celebrating, Gray took possession on the edge of the box and fired home a left-footed effort, which wrong-footed goalkeeper Mads Hermansen after deflecting off Faes and nestling into the bottom corner.

    Substitute Patrick Bamford wrapped up the points for Leeds, deflecting in  Daniel James’ sweetly-struck free-kick in stoppage time to leave Leicester shell-shocked.

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