Raheem Sterling 'prefers' Liverpool move over Barcelona with Manchester City star keen on Premier League stay

The January window could see an old face return to Anfield.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates after scoring a goal which is later disallowed due to offside during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates after scoring a goal which is later disallowed due to offside during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

El Nacional.cat has revealed that Manchester City's Raheem Sterling would prefer a move to Liverpool over Barcelona, with Xavi keen on a move for the winger following his return to Spain.

Sterling was hopeful of a move away from the Etihad Stadium in the summer transfer window as he has fallen out of favour with Pep Guardiola, however he has remained a Man City player and has made only three league starts so far this season.

As the January transfer window nears, it is likely Sterling will make a second attempt at finding a new club as he looks to secure his place in the England starting line-up ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling reacts to a missed chance during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 28, 2021. - (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

While Sterling has previously been rumoured to be keen on a move abroad, it has now been reported that he would prefer to stay in the Premier League and would opt for a return to Liverpool over Barcelona.

The 26-year-old is in favour of remaining in England as he is aware of the difficulties that British players have outside the UK and he is also warming to the idea of playing under Jurgen Klopp – a coach that he admires.

However, a move to Anfield wouldn’t be as straight forward as Sterling would hope, with Manchester City wanting to avoid selling to a direct rival so would only accept the winger’s departure if it is to a club outside of the Premier League.

Given this major obstacle, Barcelona are ready to pounce and snatch Sterling from the Reds’ grasps as Xavi looks to strengthen his side following last week’s appointment.

England's defender John Stones (R) celebrates with England's midfielder Raheem Sterling after scoring the equalising goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying match between England and Hungary at Wembley Stadium in London on October 12, 2021. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool’s stance on Sterling

Raheem Sterling’s hopes of signing for Liverpool have put the Merseyside club on high alert, with journalist Ekrem KONUR claiming that they could make an offer for the England international.

The Reds are looking to bolster their attack as their lack of squad depth up top is looking likely to prove an issue when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane head off to the Africa Cup of Nations after Christmas.

Sterling would add some much needed pace and attacking threat to Liverpool’s side and provides Klopp with more chances to rotate for the Champions League and domestic cup competitions.

Unfortunately, it is looking unlikely that Guardiola’s side will allow Sterling to return to his former club as both teams battle it out for another Premier League title.

Barcelona’s stance on Sterling

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has already publicly admitted that Sterling is a target for this winter as the Catalan giants look to maintain their excellent relationship witih Manchester City.

However, with Guardiola already keen on keeping Sterling at the club, Barcelona would have to pay €50 million to acquire the player – a price-tag they certainly can’t afford.

The La Liga side are now looking into the option of bringing Sterling to Spain on loan, however the Cityzens would only consider this if they were to include a mandatory purchase clause.

As well as this, it is unlikely that Barcelona would be able to afford Sterling’s current salary.