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Pep Guardiola backs Raheem Sterling to find peak form amid talk of January bid from Barcelona for Manchester City star

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has backed Raheem Sterling to rediscover his best form, as talk suggests Barcelona will move for the England international in the January transfer window.

Sterling has improved immeasurably since making the move from Liverpool to City in 2015.

However, his form dipped in the 2020/21 campaign, and he faces added competition for places following the arrival of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in the summer.

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Sterling was in the team for City’s loss to Tottenham on the opening weekend of the season, but has not been in the starting XI since.

Guardiola feels the 26-year-old has the tools to rediscover his best form, but there could be interest from Barca in January.

“Do you know how many incredible successes we had in the last seasons yeah? Impossible without Raheem,” Guardiola said at his press conference before City face Southampton on Saturday. “He’s such an important player.

“But I am here to tell them. He reached an incredibly high standard and I have to tell him this is the standard we need, for you, for all of us.

“And I’m pretty sure he will get it. If he’s able to do it, he will do it. And I’m so optimistic that he will do a great season.”

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A splash on Spanish newspaper Sport’s front page reads “opcion Sterling”.

The report claims Barca attempted to land Sterling on loan in the summer, and see him as a priority signing in the January transfer window.

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