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Raheem Sterling: Manchester City open talks with forward over new contract

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates scoring hi hat trick goal during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Manchester City and Atalanta at Etihad Stadium on October 22, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus) *** Local Caption *** Raheem Sterling
Image: Raheem Sterling could become Manchester City's highest-paid player ever

Manchester City have begun initial negotiations with Raheem Sterling over a new contract which could make him the highest earner in the club's history.

City's Chief Operating Officer Omar Berrada and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain held 'positive' initial discussions with Sterling's representatives on Monday.

The meeting in Manchester lasted just under an hour, with talks focusing on a deal which could catapult Sterling's £275,000 a week wages beyond the £350,000-a-week deal signed by Kevin De Bruyne in January 2018.

City are understood to be relaxed over the negotiations, having agreed a five-year deal with the former Liverpool winger in November last year.

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Pep Guardiola explained what makes Raheem Sterling such a special player following his hat-trick in Manchester City's 5-1 Champions League win over Atalanta

However, Sterling has become a talisman for Pep Guardiola's squad and City's board remain keen to keep him out of the clutches of Europe's biggest clubs such as Real Madrid, who were understood to be weighing up a lucrative offer for the winger earlier this month.

Unlike most players at the Etihad Stadium, Sterling owns his own image rights - agreed as part of his new deal 12 months ago - which include lucrative endorsements from companies including Pepsi, H&M and Gillette.

The 24-year-old's views on race and the media have made the reigning Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year a valuable ambassador for the club off the pitch.

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The Soccer Saturday panel debate whether Raheem Sterling can match the consistency of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Sterling's future at City is, however, not dependant on whether Guardiola commits his future to the club, as relations between the England international and his manager remain strong.

However, one source has told Sky Sports News that reports suggesting Sterling would not commit to a new contract unless Guardiola does the same are wide of the mark.

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