Raheem Sterling’s contract situation is still completely up in the air, but if he decides to stay at Manchester City, he can form a deadly partnership with Erling Haaland.

Away from club football, the winger endured a barren spell of 26 international games without a goal around the time of the 2018 World Cup, with his continued presence in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI constantly criticised by fans and pundits alike.

But since his stagnating young career was rejuvenated by the genius methods of Pep Guardiola, his country have benefited immensely. The so-called ‘Boy from Brent’ has been one of England’s key players for a number of years now, scoring 17 goals and producing magical moments on the biggest stages.

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In last summer’s delayed European Championship, Sterling popped up with goals against Croatia, the Czech Republic and – most notably – Germany in the run to England’s second-ever major final appearance.

What has been hugely interesting to watch is his effective link-up with Harry Kane. The Tottenham Hotspur striker was heavily linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium last summer, but club chairman Daniel Levy blocked City’s approaches for his star man.

Sterling has notoriously benefitted from a clinical number nine alongside him. He was one part of a devastating Sané-Aguero-Sterling trio that amassed 100 points in the Premier League a few years ago and his partnership with Kane for England has been a huge success.

For the last two years, City have operated without a recognised striker and won back-to-back domestic titles using Guardiola’s false nine system. However, the £51 million purchase of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund seems to suggest the Catalan’s focus is on switching back to his previous ways.

That could present endless possibilities for Sterling, who knows more than anyone what it takes to operate with a clinical number nine alongside him. High and wide on the right-wing, he will know there are plenty of opportunities for him to earn a long run in the team – whether he is willing to do so is a different question altogether.

The 27-year-old is approaching the peak of his career and the next contract will understandably be the biggest of his career. He does not want to rush into anything and it looks like – with one year left on his current deal – another round of talks are scheduled for after his Nations League commitments with England.

If Sterling were to commit to City in the long-term, the opportunity for him to create a Kane-esque partnership with Haaland is there.

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