Raheem Sterling bids farewell to Manchester City ahead of Chelsea move

London, July 13 (IANS) Raheem Sterling on Wednesday announced his departure from Manchester City ahead of a move to Chelsea.
 
Raheem Sterling bids farewell to Manchester City ahead of Chelsea move

London, July 13 (IANS) Raheem Sterling on Wednesday announced his departure from Manchester City ahead of a move to Chelsea.

The 27-year-old's move to Chelsea is expected in the next 24 hours as he had a medical with the club on Sunday.

In a statement confirming his City exit, the England forward sent a heartfelt goodbye message to his former team-mates and the club's staff and fans on his social media account.

"Seven seasons. Eleven major trophies. A lifetime of memories. To the coaching staff who have played a massive role in my development over the years. To my teammates who have become more than just those I share a pitch with. To the backroom staff. To the office staff. To the fans who have tirelessly supported the team. And to everyone involved with Manchester City, my respect for you couldn't be greater," said Sterling.

"What a ride it's been. I am thankful for the ups and downs, as it's the downs that have, at times, tested my strength and resolve, and enabled me to stand here in front of you as the best possible version of myself.

"I arrived in Manchester as a 20-year-old, today I leave as a man. Thank you for your endless support. It's been an honour to wear the shirt of Manchester City," he added.

City signed Sterling from Liverpool in a 49m pound deal in 2015. He went on to score 131 goals in 339 games, winning four Premier League titles.

Capped 77 times by England, Sterling will become Chelsea's first major signing since the Todd Boehly-led takeover. He will now link up with the Chelsea squad who flew out for their pre-season tour to the United States on Saturday.

His deal is worth up to 50m pounds including add-ons and is expected to be a five-year contract with an option for an extra year. He had one year left on his contract at City and had attracted interest from major clubs overseas, a BBC report said.

Chelsea are also looking to strengthen in defence following the loss of Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona. They are also pursuing City's 27-year-old Dutch defender Nathan Ake, as well as Napoli and Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.

--IANS

avn