Premier League champions Manchester City have reportedly set a £67 million price tag on Raheem Sterling, despite interest from Barcelona.
The LaLiga giants are desperate to improve their forward line either in the January window or next summer and have placed Sterling on their shortlist of potential targets.
As reported by Sportsmail last week, Sterling wants to remain at Man City but will consider his future at the Premier League champions if he continues to struggle for consistent games.
No player has ever appeared in more matches managed by Pep Guardiola at Man City, yet the 26-year-old has started only two league games since the opening weekend of the season after the £100m summer signing of Jack Grealish.
“I’m not a person that’s going to complain, I’ve not tried to make it a bigger deal than it actually is,”Sterling said earlier this month.
“I get on with my work, do what I need to do. And I’m just raring to go: playing football matches regularly, scoring goals regularly.
“At the end of the day, if football for me is not at a certain standard I’m not really at my happiest. If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football. I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”
Sterling has 18 months remaining on his current contract at Man City but has opted against opening discussions over an extension until his short-term future is resolved.
Now, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca, City have told any club interested in signing Sterling that they will have to pay £67m to get a deal done.
Barcelona’s need for a new winger is exacerbated by Ousmane Dembele’s contract situation – his deal is set to expire at the end of the season. The club could look to move him on in January for a cut-price to avoid losing their £135million signing on a free transfer.
Recent reports in Spain have linked Barcelona with an initial loan move for Sterling because their financial woes mean they could not afford to pay a huge fee for the former Liverpool star at present.
The club are in financial ruin due to their debt, which stands at more than £1 billion, which contributed to LaLiga slashing their wage bill to a maximum of £90m – equivalent to that of Watford – last month.