Manchester City have opened contract talks with Raheem Sterling, with the reigning Premier League champions determined to secure the star winger’s future for as long as possible.

Sterling signed a new deal worth £300,000-per-week just a year ago. Those terms don’t expire until the summer of 2023, but the player’s continued rise to genuine world class level has prompted his club to act already.

Raheem Sterling

The Daily Mail and Daily Mirror both separately report that talks over a fresh contract have started. Not only would a new deal reward Sterling for his contribution and improvement, it would protect City against rumoured interest from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

There was recent speculation that the latter were considering an offer of £70m in cash plus Gareth Bale in part exchange. The alleged proposal was quickly a laughing stock on social media and rightly labelled derisory given Sterling’s age and enormous quality.

That the newspaper reports of a new deal to exceed his £300,000 weekly salary are presented with approving nods tell you everything you need to know.

It wasn’t long ago that Sterling, who won’t turn 25 until next month, was the subject of much outrage news. But his incredible performances on the pitch over the last three years, now for country as well as club, have silenced that unwarranted criticism.

Raheem Sterling

Although always a quality individual, Sterling’s game has matured since the arrival of manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium. He had a major breakthrough in the 2017/18 ‘Centurions’ campaign, scoring 18 goals in the Premier League and 23 in all competitions.

That continued into last season when the player netted an improved 25 in all competitions, while he has already netted 14 times for his club so far in 2019/20. As for England, Sterling has scored eight of his 12 career senior international goals in 2019 alone.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!