Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that he is aiming to resolve Raheem Sterling’s contract dispute.
The attacker failed to agree terms with the club on a new deal in talks earlier this summer and has only two years left on his current deal.
After the 23-year-old notched City’s opening goal in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League, Guardiola was at pains to stress how important the former Liverpool man is to his side but explained his ability to influence matters in this regard is limited.
“For the record, I’m not a sports director, not even a manager. I’m a trainer,” he said.
“I try to make a good team spirit in the locker room and win games. But we are delighted with him and would like Raheem to stay. We’ll do our effort to make him feel we count on him. And we do count on him.”
The Catalan insists that he has always done his best for a player who was struggling to find his best level when the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach arrived in England in the summer of 2016.
“We arrived after a difficult season and I told him I wanted to help him and would like him to be happy,” he said.
“In the end the agents may not have agreements and that may not happen. But he knows and his agent knows we like him and want him a lot.”
Guardiola also defended the player from the criticism he received during World Cup 2018, when his finishing for England came under fire.
Sterling scored 23 times for City last term and laid another 17 goals on in 46 outings, prompting his boss to advocate for an extended deal towards the end of the campaign.
His strike on Sunday was his 50th tally in the Premier League.