Raheem Sterling’s future at the Etihad looks less certain after he and Manchester City failed to reach an agreement over a new long-term deal.
Sky Sports reports that the two parties remain poles apart on the player’s wages and at this stage no fresh negotiations are planned.
The 23-year old winger joins his England team-mates on the plane to Russia on Tuesday, having enjoyed his finest season to date, scoring 23 goals in all competitions for the Premier League champions.
It was hoped that a new deal could be concluded before the World Cup kicked off, keeping Sterling at City through to 2022.
However, Sky Sports reports City have met Sterling’s representatives on two separate occasions since the season concluded on May 6, with the parties unable to find common ground over the player’s wages.
In recent months, City have agreed new deals with a host of key players, including Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi, and behind the scenes the club remains relaxed about the current impasse and confident that an understanding can be struck after the World Cup.
De Bruyne agreed a new six-year deal in January which, with bonuses will rise to £350,000 a week. Sterling meanwhile is entering the last two years of a deal, which presently earns him half that figure, around £175,000 a week.
Privately, Sterling’s team believe he deserves to be remunerated on a scale similar to the club’s top earners.
Sterling arrived from Liverpool for a then record fee of £44m in 2015. Under Guardiola he has flourished in a free attacking role, finishing as the Premier League’s fifth top scorer and just three league goals behind City top marksman, Sergio Aguero.
With two years remaining on that initial five-year agreement, sources at the Etihad believe there was no urgency to reach agreement before Sterling headed for Russia, and believe a deal will be reached on his return.
With England’s first game less than a week away, Sterling knows a successful World Cup campaign – and some key performances on the biggest stage – will go a long way towards loosening City’s purse strings and simultaneously alerting some of Europe’s top clubs.
For now, further negotiations will now have to wait until England’s return from their rural World Cup base camp in Repino.