Sterling makes tough transfer decision on leaving Chelsea amid interest from Saudi Arabia

Raheem Sterling breaks silence amid Saudi Arabia transfer rumours

Raheem Sterling remains committed to Chelsea despite rumours linking him with a move to Saudi Arabia in the upcoming summer transfer window.

The 29-year-old was said to have had plenty of interest from the Saudi Pro League last summer, but rejected the chance to move to the Middle East after an underwhelming debut season at Stamford Bridge. Sterling still finished the 2022/23 campaign as Chelsea’s joint top scorer in all competitions, alongside Kai Havertz, with nine goals to his name.

This season, Sterling has played 2,668 minutes for the Blues in total, with eight goals and six assists in the process. The winger, once of Manchester City and Liverpool, still faces numerous critics amongst the Chelsea fan base.

There is said to be interest from Saudi Arabia once again as we approach the 2024 summer transfer window but as it stands, Sterling has no intention of leaving Chelsea, football.london understands. The Jamaican-born England international, who has 82 caps for the Three Lions, remains committed to the Blues’ long-term project and is contracted with the club until 2027.

Only Cole Palmer (12) and Nicolas Jackson (11) have scored more goals than Sterling in all competitions for Chelsea this term. Despite this, the winger has been booed on several occasions by Chelsea supporters when coming off the pitch, something Mauricio Pochettino is confused about.

“Someone told me [that Sterling was booed against Leeds United last week] but I didn’t hear it,” Pochettino said in a press conference last Friday. “I have only been here nine months, I don’t understand why that happens.

“It is difficult to know why exactly. [Sterling] is fully committed to Chelsea, is doing well and he is always very committed. He is one of the players who is at 99 per cent of training sessions. Always training and always available. Sometimes he is good, sometimes not so good – like all players.”

Chelsea, though, are said to be looking at other options ahead of the summer transfer window, with a winger on their radar. A report from the Telegraph states the Blues are interested in signing Athletic Bilbao wide man Nico Williams.

The Spaniard reportedly has a £43million release clause in his contract at San Mames, but a move could depend on how much money is created by selling other players. After a unprecedentedly quiet January period, where Premier League clubs spent a small fraction compared to previous windows, teams are expected to be more cautious once again in the summer, but could come out of their shell a little bit more.

Chelsea have regularly found loopholes in the Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) by handing their new signings long-term contracts and amortising the transfer fee as a result. That, however, has since been capped to a five-year period.

The future of Conor Gallagher remains uncertain. As reported by football.london in January, Gallagher wanted to stay at Chelsea and Pochettino’s feeling was very similar. There are some in the club, though, that see Gallagher as expendable, particularly with an academy player being sold as ‘pure profit’.

Gallagher sees his contract at Stamford Bridge expire in just over 12 months’ time and the midfielder, who has scored four goals in his last six games for the Blues, has not received an official offer of an extension yet. Pochettino admitted last week that he is powerless when it comes to the Gallagher situation.

He initially said that “I am the coach that needs to be in my place”, which led to a question over the way the club operate. Did Pochettino agree with the club’s model? “No comment,” he said, bluntly.

“Because there is nothing to win for me. What am I going to say? I am the head coach. My job is to coach the team and to pick the decisions for tomorrow [against Brentford], for the starting XI and squad, and try to improve the players and try to win games. That is my job.”

The Chelsea head coach continued: “We have a very good relationship with the owners and sporting directors. My office always is open and we have a very good relationship and dialogue. We are open to help in the way they think or believe we can help.”

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