Manchester United would make a move for ‘priority’ target Raheem Sterling in the (admittedly unlikely) event of the Manchester City winger becoming available this summer.
City are appealing their two-year ban from European competition for breaching financial fair play regulations, with the appeal to be heard between 8 and 10 June.
The potential absence of Champions League football has led to speculation that a selection of City’s top players could depart for fear of spending two seasons outside of club football’s most illustrious cup competition.
United’s analytics department have singled the 25-year-old out, and he has climbed up the Red Devil’s transfer ‘priorities’ list as a result.
The report concedes that Sterling would be unlikely to swap the blue side of Manchester for red, and if he were to depart the Etihad in the summer, Real Madrid would be his most probable destination.
The club’s three principal targets this summer remain Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Birmingham’s Jude Bellingham.
In April, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward had tempered expectations of lavish summer spending following the financial uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus.
However, the club have since taken out a £140m loan from their revolving credit facility, suggesting they intend to push ahead with their transfer activity.
A move for Sancho would likely see the club break the British transfer record – the £89m they spent to re-sign Paul Pogba in 2016.
Aston Villa have reportedly valued captain Grealish at £80m, although this could be driven down should Villa suffer relegation, while United would likely have to part with £30m to prise Bellingham – also wanted by Dortmund – away from Birmingham.
Sterling is contracted to Man City until 2023, and has enjoyed remarkable success at the club since moving from Liverpool.
The England winger has scored 89 goals and won six major trophies since his 2015 switch, establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s very finest players in the process.