Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is ready to inform the club that he wants to join Barcelona this summer, 90min understands.
Barcelona made an approach to sign Sterling on an initial loan alongside Ferran Torres in January. As 90min has previously revealed, it is a move that appeals to him. City blocked a deal, although did allow Ferran Torres to move to Camp Nou at that time.
Sterling is due to be out of contract at the Etihad Stadium in June 2023, just over a year from now, but talks between player and club have been stalling since late last 2021.
Last summer, Sterling and City were approaching the conclusion of a new deal after the former Liverpool winger enjoyed an outstanding Euro 2020 with England - playing a leading role as the Three Lions reached the final.
However, the 2021/22 club season started with Sterling spending most of the time on the bench. He started just three of 11 Premier League games in the first three months of the campaign up to the November international break - it was at that point he backed away from a new deal.
Sterling was soon back in the fold under Pep Guardiola, who is hugely keen to see him extend his contract, but 90min has been informed that a lack of starts remains an issue - he spent all of March on the bench in the Premier League - and is the main reason he is considering leaving.
This season is set to see Sterling start the fewest number of games since his first year with City in 2015/16 following his transfer from Liverpool - he was only 20 going on 21 back then.
His lack of starts saw Barcelona take an interest and make an approach in December ahead of a possible loan in the New Year and Sterling was hugely attracted by the prospect, having asked City in November to sanction the proposed deal.
Listen now to 90min's Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth. This week: Erling Haaland's transfer to Manchester City. Ralf Rangnick recommending Konrad Laimer to Manchester United, a potential new right-back Liverpool, Declan Rice, and the latest on contract situations for Youri Tielemans and Sadio Mane.
Fast forward to now, and Barca's interest in Sterling remains. 90min has been told that the player is 'intrigued and fascinated' by the prospect of switching to Camp Nou.
Sterling and his advisors are due to speak with City at the end of the season. The club believe they have put together an excellent package, but finances are not seen as key to him signing.
Sterling will stop short of demanding a regular starting spot, but it is believed he has no intention of spending much of his next contract on the bench and is wary of the impact of Erling Haaland, who will be arriving at the club from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
90min now understands that Sterling will inform City he wants to move to Barcelona. What's more, playing in Spain is a subject he has previously spoken about in public. The player confirmed in an 2017 interview his interest in playing abroad, particularly La Liga.
"I’m happy at Man City. But nobody knows what the future brings so one day, definitely, it would be nice to play abroad," he told the Daily Mail at the time. "It would be a great experience. Spain’s attractive. Anywhere the weather is nice really!"
City sources are insistent that they still feel that the club could persuade Sterling to stay, yet admit that they are unlikely to let him leave as a free agent in 2023 if an agreement is not forthcoming.
Other clubs such as Inter, Juventus and Bayern Munich have touched base with Sterling's representatives to make it known they would be interested in a deal, 90min understands.
Sterling's camp has insisted that he is unlikely to seek a transfer to another Premier League club at this point, despite claims of interest from Arsenal and Tottenham.