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Report: Raheem Sterling, Man City contract talks stall

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According to a report by The Guardian, Manchester City has not made progress on contract talks with Raheem Sterling.

The 23-year-old signed a four-year deal after moving from Liverpool in the summer of 2015, and that is set to expire in the summer of 2020, meaning he will lose significant value in the transfer market should he reach the final year of his contract. With Sterling costing Man City near $74 million to sign, and the England international enjoying a leap in development under Pep Guardiola, it’s unlikely the club would accept losing him for far less than the value he was acquired for.

However, armed with 47 goals and 48 assists in 144 appearances for Manchester City, plus a strong bargaining position given the ticking clock, Sterling is reportedly asking for a wage increase to $290,000 a week, up from his current salary of $224,000 per week. According to the Guardian report, there is “some distance” between the two parties.

Sterling’s reported demands would put him still below the $330,000 Sergio Aguero makes a week as per the new deal he signed in the winter of 2017, and far below Kevin De Bruyne‘s $460,000 per week handed out this past January. With that value, Sterling would be in the range of David Silva‘s $290,000 per week.

“It’s well-known we’re delighted with him and would like him to continue,” Guardiola said on Friday before the weekend’s win over Fulham. “My club knows my opinion and we share that. After that it is the club and the agent.”

On international duty, Sterling has picked up 44 caps for England, but has failed to replicate the same goalscoring rate he owns at the club level, with just two international goals and none since October of 2015. He does own 11 assists, suggesting he plays a more creative role at the international level, while displaying more freedom under Guardiola’s watch. He has become an attacking force at Manchester City, especially in the absence of the injured de Bruyne. In a starring role this season, Sterling has three goals already in four matches.

Man City roll over Fulham

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  • City out-attempts Fulham 28-9
  • Three different goal scorers
  • Fulham one point above drop zone

Leroy Sane, David Silva, and Raheem Sterling scored goals as Manchester City cruised past Fulham with a 3-0 win at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Man City remains unbeaten and has 13 points, two back of leaders Chelsea and Liverpool. Fulham has just two points on the season.

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Slavisa Jokanovic will be fuming with his Cottagers, even given the competition, after a pair of goals inside of the first 21 minutes.

Fernandinho caused a turnover in the midfield and raced down the left to send an invitation to Sane for a straight-forward finish.

It was Silva to Silva with help on the second goal, with Bernardo’s cross taking turns en route to David. The Spaniard usually finishes from these positions, and made it 2-0.

Sterling tapped in a 47th minute pass from Sergio Aguero for City’s third.

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Premier League Preview: Man City vs. Fulham

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  • Fulham has conceded 9 goals so far this season, one off the most in the league
  • Man City has scored 16 goals in its last 5 home league matches
  • Man City has beaten Fulham by a combined 10-0 over last 3 league meetings at the Etihad

Manchester City will host a discount version of itself as they meet Fulham at the Etihad Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com in a highly-anticipated clash of similar playing styles. It will be fascinating to see how this game progresses, as Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic insists the Whites will attempt to play their possession-based style even against the reigning Premier League champions.

Fulham led the Championship in possession the last two years under Slavisa Jokanovic before promotion, and this season they sit fourth in the Premier League in completed passes, above teams like Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal. Saturday’s meeting with City sees them match up against the side that sits second in the Premier League with 2,726 completed passes through four matches, 497 more than Fulham.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines for Week 5 ]

Manchester City has its full compliment of players aside from Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo who are out with long-term injuries. Raheem Sterling left the England over the weekend with a back injury, but Pep Guardiola says the 23-year-old is healthy enough to return to selection for City. Danilo is back in training as well, but may not have the match fitness to play this weekend.

The visitors will be without playmaking force Tom Cairney, a big loss for a team that requires a centralized creator in the attacking half. Also missing for the Cottagers is winger Neeskins Kebano, who is dealing with an ankle problem. Finally, American defender Tim Ream is still absent with a nagging thigh injury that is taking longer to heal than initially thought, still yet to debut this season.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Fulham – “I’m really impressed. I had two weeks watching them. I saw three games. They have good players – [Jean Michael] Seri, and players in the front like [Aleksandar] Mitrovic. It’s not just long balls and channels, they want to make their own game. I’m pretty sure they’ll have a good season.”

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic on Pep Guardiola – “No, I don’t use his style of football, I try use my style or use my players. He’s one of the most experienced and successful managers. He’s shown a similar style in different places, he’s shown it’s possible to play that way in different competitions. All the credit to him; he made really important steps in the game. But to copy people is not good. It’s not easy for us to match this level. We try to find our way, we try to adapt ourselves, we try to interpret what we have in our hands.”

Prediction

Fulham is going to take it to some teams, but in games like this, it’s hard to see them stepping up to the competition. These are the games they will struggle in – against teams similar to their style. The Fulham defense has been a work in progress in Ream’s absence, with new signings Maxim Le Marchand, Alfie Mawson, and Calum Chambers all still working to to settle into new roles. Manchester City should feast, and it could finish at an ugly 4-1.

Leroy Sane leaves Germany squad for “personal reasons”

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Manchester City winger Leroy Sane has left the German national squad due to “personal reasons” after a conversation with head coach Joachim Low, the federation has announced.

The news is significant as it brings the strained relationship between Sane and both Low and his teammates back to the forefront. Sane was surprisingly left off Germany’s roster for the World Cup this past summer, despite his spectacular 2017/18 Premier League season. There were suggestions that Sane’s attitude was to blame, although Low also said his playing style did not fit the formations he wished to use.

However, it was suggested by Goal.com writer Ronan Murphy that his absence was not due to a falling out with the manager or his teammate, but instead to be with his girlfriend for the birth of a child. It’s odd, though, that the national team would fail to confirm this otherwise happy bit of personal news for Sane in its announcement of his departure given the obvious connections that could be made after his teammate’s criticism.

German teammate Toni Kroos criticized Sane’s attitude in the squad in the press conference prior to Germany’s 0-0 draw with France, saying, “He’s a player who has everything you need to be a world-class player but sometimes you have to tell him he has to perform better.” To make his point clear, he added, “sometimes you have the feeling with Leroy’s body language that it’s all the same if we win or lose.”

Kroos backtracked from there. “He could be a real weapon for us. I think Leroy is an absolute team player.”

Sane played just seven minutes in the match against France before departing the national team. The 22-year-old has found the new Premier League season difficult as well, contributing just 30 minutes so far through four matches, and finding himself completely left out of the matchday squad for City’s most recent game, a 2-1 win over Newcastle.

Following the Newcastle match, his club manager Pep Guardiola also hinted that Sane needs to improve, but did so in a much more tactful manner, lumping him in with England youngster Raheem Sterling and saying the two must impress in training.

“They [Sane and Raheem Sterling] can do better,” Guardiola said. “I have that feeling. If I didn’t believe it I wouldn’t say, but I think they can in simple things, the dribbling, first control, how you receive the ball and take decisions. It’s training in smaller spaces and focusing on control, because that is the reality that is going to happen.”

Star-studded video has players campaigning for FIFA ratings

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FIFA19 is going to hit video game consoles everywhere later this month, and EA Sports has captured players discussing their ratings the same way we do.

I, for one, am still stung by Jamaal Lascelles‘ FIFA rating of 76 last season.

[ MORE: USMNT-Brazil preview ]

Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Lloris, and most hilariously Casemiro make appearances in this promo video, which also features Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne making a “public statement” asking for higher ratings on behalf of all players.

It’s an entertaining watch, for sure.

EA also released the 100th to 81st ranked players in the game, including Riyad Mahrez (99), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (98), Raheem Sterling (97), and Virgil Van Dijk (82).

By the way, Fabinho ranked 85 despite not being able to get in Liverpool’s team is something else.