Sterling knows we want him - Guardiola

Raheem Sterling should have no doubts over how important he is at Manchester City, says Pep Guardiola, with a new contract yet to be agreed.

Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling   -  Getty Images

Manchester City wants to tie Raheem Sterling down to a new long-term contract, but manager Pep Guardiola concedes he is unsure over whether the England international will agree terms.

Gabriel Jesus became the latest of City's key players to commit his future to the Premier League champion on Friday, penning a renewed deal through until June 2023.

During its triumphant campaign last season, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Ederson all signed fresh terms.

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Sterling is yet to join that quintet despite scoring 23 goals in all competitions in 2017-18 for City, although talks have taken place with the 23-year-old's representatives as he enters the penultimate season of his current contract.

The 23-year-old will not feature against Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday, having been granted extended leave after starting all seven of England's World Cup games.

Guardiola remains emphatic over Sterling's continued importance at City, despite the close-season arrival of club-record signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.

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"There is no doubt we want him. He knows, his agent knows. We want him. Txiki [Begiristain, City's director of football] spoke with him," he said.

"It is clear since the first day I arrived we want him. But, the deals are the deals, the agents are the agents and the players are the players."

"At the end, I don't know what is going to happen, but I assure you, 100 per cent, the club, myself as a manager, the sporting director and his team-mates, we want him to stay here."

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A new deal for Sterling's fellow winger Leroy Sane is also reportedly on the agenda at Eastlands. While his teammate was a key performer for England in Russia, Sane was surprisingly left out of a Germany squad that crashed out during the group stages of its World Cup defence.

"I think always when one player has a dream they are going to play the World Cup – the most fascinating, beautiful and exiting tournament in the world – and don't go there they are disappointed," Guardiola observed, with Sane in line to start against Maurizio Sarri's side at the national stadium.

"But, that was two months ago. Life is like this, life is not easy. How you react in those bad moments will make you stronger. If he is able to overcome that situation he will become a better player. If he doesn't he will not compete regularly."

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"The target for Leroy – he made an amazing season, but it is just one. You have to do another one and another one because the top, top players and the [best] players in history, every season they are there. Sometimes they have one bad game, two bad games."

For an example of relentless drive and consistency, Sane need not look further than a manager who will chase his latest title retention having won three in a row at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

"From my point of view the players don't have to be worried, I'm ready to try again. The fear of losing games makes me starving and hungry again. All the managers we try to avoid that feeling of when you lose a game," Guardiola added.

"You feel guilty, you feel bad. Your private life is not good and your relationship with the players is not good. That simple fear of losing a game makes you hungry."

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