For all the difficulties he has had when representing England, the club career of Raheem Sterling has appeared remarkably solid since the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Leaving Liverpool to join the Manchester giants a summer before Guardiola joined in 2016, an indifferent opening year came to be seen as a blip when the Catalan coach began to work his magic with Sterling.
Playing the guts of 100 games for Guardiola's City over the last two seasons, their record-breaking run to Premier League success saw Raheem Sterling grab 18-league goals in the process; double what he had previously scored in any of his five seasons in the English top-flight.
However, speaking to the BBC, it has now become clear that Guardiola is no longer certain whether or not he will be working with the pacy forward any longer.
Although it is difficult to comprehend why Sterling may see his future better served away from Manchester City, Guardiola's remarks hint at the potential for misguidance amongst the player's close advisers:
There is no doubt we want him. He knows it. His agent knows it. We made it clear from the day I arrived we want him, but deals are deals, agents are agents and players are players. So at the end I don’t know what is going to happen.
Pep on Raheem Sterling’s future: “There is no doubt we want him. He knows it. His agent knows it. We made it clear from the day I arrived we want him, but deals are deals, agents are agents and players are players. So at the end I don’t know what is going to happen.”
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) August 5, 2018
Having consistently lauded Sterling, his importance to his Manchester City team, and the player's potential to improve further still, it is scarcely in doubt that Guardiola would prefer to retain the services of the English international.
However, that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager would so readily speak of his inability to judge "what is going to happen," does bear consideration.
Although it is unlikely that Sterling would move to another Premier League side, one may speculate that his mis-treatment at the hands of Britain's tabloid press could leave him open to the prospect of playing his football on less scrutinising shores.