How devastating Raheem Sterling can transform Chelsea with defining transfer

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 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

In Raheem Sterling, Chelsea have signed a leader, a devastating attacker who weighs in with both goals and assists and a player who will transform their attack.

They are also getting one of the finest English players of his generation entering his peak years and someone with a burning desire to turn them into champions again.

Sterling has completed a stunning £47.5million move from Manchester City to become the first marquee signing under the new ownership at Stamford Bridge.

He is now the highest-paid player at Chelsea, after receiving a small salary increase on his £300,000-a-week wages at City, but his decision to leave the Premier League champions is driven by personal ambition.

Returning to London 12 years after he left QPR for Liverpool, aged 15, Sterling wants to win the Champions League and help take Chelsea back to the top of English football.

Raheem Sterling has become Chelsea’s first marquee signing of the Todd Boehly era (Getty Images/Evening Standard)
Raheem Sterling has become Chelsea’s first marquee signing of the Todd Boehly era (Getty Images/Evening Standard)

The 27-year-old believes this move could prove the defining moment of his career. He wants to be in contention for the Ballon d’Or and was determined to find the right club to fulfil his ambitions.

Sterling was also attracting interest from Real Madrid. City wanted him to stay, but Chelsea’s strong desire to sign him made up his mind as to where his next destination should be.

He wants to be viewed as a key player and was impressed by conversations with Thomas Tuchel about the role the Chelsea manager sees for him at Stamford Bridge.

The England international is keen to be a regular starter ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this winter and knows he will get more regular football at Chelsea.

At City, Sterling was just one of many top forwards in a front line of superstars that includes Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and now Erling Haaland.

He has found himself in and out of the City side over the past 18 months, but at Chelsea there is an opportunity for him to become the undisputed talisman of the team.

Sterling is a leader on and off the field and could have a transformative effect on Tuchel’s squad

No Chelsea player has scored more than 20 goals in all competitions in a season since Eden Hazard in 2018-19. Sterling has averaged 22 goals in all competitions in his past five seasons at City, and scored 17 times last season (two more than Romelu Lukaku, who was one of only three Chelsea players to reach double figures).

Tuchel wants a forward who can play high-intensity football, is willing to work for the team and can press. Many of those ideals were alien to Lukaku last season, but will be second nature to a player used to playing under Pep Guardiola.

Sterling brings top-level tactical awareness learned under Guardiola and Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. Tuchel was attracted to his profile as an attacker who can dribble, move players out of position and produce intelligent movement as part of an overall attacking unit.

Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021 by being “horrible to play against”, which was a mantra that typified their first six months under Tuchel.

Myriad issues, including the ownership change, distracted Chelsea away from that last season. Tuchel needs few egos and a harmonious dressing room to get back to that style of play.

Sterling is a leader on and off the field and could have a transformative effect on Tuchel’s squad. He has spent a lot of time mentoring young players at City and England, including Cole Palmer.

The potential benefits his arrival could have on Mason Mount, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi only add to the excitement of one of the biggest transfers the Premier League has seen in recent years.

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