Pep Guardiola called me one of the world’s best – now I’m told Crystal Palace is the right move

Raheem Sterling (pictured) has been a big fan of Chelsea teammate Armando Broja
Raheem Sterling's season at Chelsea has not gone to plan -Credit:Image: Getty

Raheem Sterling has been told to join Crystal Palace despite once being tipped to become the world’s best by Pep Guardiola.

The Chelsea forward, 29, has had an uninspiring second season in west London, mirroring his underwhelming first year. Sterling has seen his playing time nosedive over the course of the season under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

With Chelsea's ongoing struggles with meeting Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR), reports have suggested the Blues could look to sell Sterling, who is currently their top earner, which would in turn ease some financial woes. Sterling himself is understood to want to stay at Stamford Bridge and fight for his place after the team’s strong end to the season.

But pundit and former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton believes Sterling is likely to leave the sixth-placed side this summer, despite his contract expiring in 2027. Sutton was adamant that Sterling would be better off “kick-starting” his career at a club further down the table like Palace.

Speaking on the 'It's All Kicking Off!' podcast, he said (via the Express): "He will probably end up at Crystal Palace or somewhere like that, I suspect. I thought his goal was excellent at the weekend, we aren't party to what goes on at the Chelsea training ground and clearly Pochettino feels there has been a dip in form.

“We know what a talented player he is. But he does look like a player who needs a player to kick-start his career."

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Sterling's maiden season at Chelsea saw him net a modest six league goals following his £47.5million switch in July 2022. He’s scored seven this term, including a crucial equaliser during Chelsea's dramatic 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest.

Sterling has been unlucky to have his Chelsea spell late in his career coincide with the club's transitional phase, which has meant not competing for the biggest trophies. Yet the suggestion that he should consider a move to Palace, currently in 12th place, is a far cry from Guardiola's once lofty expectations for the winger.

In 2018, the Manchester City manager envisioned a 23-year-old Sterling becoming one of the world's elite players. The Spaniard’s praise came despite Sterling's struggles in a pivotal Manchester Derby, where he missed two clear-cut opportunities before City suffered a 3-2 defeat.

Guardiola said: "The moment he can (improve) his average chances to score a goal, he will become one of the best players in the world. He missed two clear, clear chances against United. He missed today. The moment he will improve that, he will be a top, top player because he's so fast, a dynamic player, has character one against one. He is an excellent guy.

"He unlocks everything but when you think about it he did much, much better than last season and that was important. The problem will be next season to compete with what he has done. That is why he has to work harder but if he is able to learn, he is going to win important Premier Leagues and help his confidence."

Sterling went on to have a remarkable career at City, playing a pivotal part in winning four Premier League titles between 2018 and 2022. The forward left the reigning English champions with an impressive tally of 131 goals in 339 appearances, but has found it challenging since his exit from Manchester.