What Jack Grealish Man City move might mean for Raheem Sterling
Everything is pointing towards Jack Grealish potentially joining Manchester City this summer in a deal worth up to £100m.
The Aston Villa captain, who is currently on international duty with the Three Lions at Euro 2020, is the subject of interest from the club.
But with the England international’s preference to play on the left-wing and Kevin De Bruyne likely playing through the middle next season, what are the ramifications of Grealish’s move for Raheem Sterling?
The Jamaican-born winger scored 14 goals and made 12 assists for City in 49 appearances last season. He has been England’s hero at the Euros too.
His second, assisted by Grealish in the match against the Czech Republic, perfectly illustrated how the pair could work together.
Southgate started both Grealish and Sterling in the match, with the latter playing on the left-wing while the former played through the middle.
The pair often interchanged positions and played with fluid movement. Sterling drifted centrally to run in behind the opposition’s defence, while Grealish moved to the left-side and supplied penetrative balls into the box.
This is how England’s sole goal of the match came about. Sterling broke free in the box and Grealish supplied the cross to the back post from the left.
In Pep Guardiola ‘s 4-3-3 system, the same could work with De Bruyne dropping deeper to the midfield three and Sterling playing the false number nine role in front of Grealish on the left-wing.
Of course, should City be successful in their pursuit of Harry Kane, Sterling is unlikely to be deployed as a false nine.
But while Sterling has mainly been used on the left-flank by Guardiola, the England international can also play on the right.
The winger has played a total of 143 appearances for Liverpool and Manchester City on the right flank, registering 39 goals and 53 assists.
The 26-year-old’s preferred foot is his right, and while he will be unable to cut into the centre as effectively from this position to create shooting opportunities for himself, with Kane in the middle there will be less of a need for him to provide goals and instead the onus will be on creating chances for the England captain.
In his career so far Sterling has made more assists playing on the right-wing, which suggests he could be perfectly adequate in a creative role from that position.
Add Phil Foden into the mix, who can also play in various positions across the front three, and Guardiola’s options are abundant.
Sterling has been linked with moves away from the Etihad in the past, but at 26 years of age he is arguably in the prime of his career, so it would be a waste for City to lose him now.
As the game against the Czech Republic proved there is no reason why a trio of Kane, Grealish and Sterling could not work.