KEY POINTS

  • Sterling has been linked with a move to Barcelona
  • Man City and Bayern Munich are targeting Barca's Frenkie de Jong
  • De Jong joined Barca from Ajax in 2019

Manchester City are preparing a sensational swap deal that would see Raheem Sterling move to FC Barcelona next summer. 

City will offer Barcelona a chance to sign Sterling but the Camp Nou side will have to include midfielder Frenkie de Jong in the swap deal, reported Catalan publication El Nacional

Sterling, who has fallen down in Pep Guardiola’s pecking order at Manchester City and is expected to be a perfect fit in new head coach Xavi Hernandez’s formation of 4-3-3, while the Englishman could be affordable for the Catalans too as the club is currently undergoing a financial crisis. 

Manchester City may have to battle against Bayern Munich in the race to sign De Jong. The Bundesliga club and Barcelona have held initial talks over de Jong’s future and are set to have another meeting soon, according to Mundo Deportivo. 

Barcelona signed De Jong from Ajax in 2019 at $87 million. While he has had his moments over the last couple of years, the Catalans are believed to be unhappy with his performances. Guardiola’s City are aware that De Jong has not been living up to his potential but the Spaniard is sure that the young midfielder can recover once he lands at Etihad Stadium. 

De Jong, who is contracted with Barcelona until 2026, has made 106 appearances for the club, across all competitions, scoring nine goals and providing 15 assists. 

With three losses, five draws and four wins, Barcelona are ninth in the 2021-22 La Liga table as they are experiencing their worst start to the league. 

In their latest league game, Barcelona surrendered their 3-0 lead to eventually draw 3-3 against Celta Vigo. 

Lionel Messi with Frenkie de Jong at the end of Barcelona's 2-0 win away to Juventus Lionel Messi with Frenkie de Jong during a Barcelona game Photo: AFP / Marco BERTORELLO

In a post-match interview, De Jong admitted that Barcelona lacked personality and "forgot to play" against Celta Vigo Saturday.  

"I think that in the second half we forgot to play, we were stuck. It was a lack of personality. We have to change as players because we have to offer ourselves more when there’s pressure from the opponent. That’s it. This game was very important to climb higher in the table and [to fail to win it] is a very strong blow for us. We can still fight [for La Liga] because we have a lot of quality. There’s been a lot of lost points and it will very difficult, but we have to continue," De Jong was quoted by Marca, as saying in the interview.