Raheem Sterling’s dip in form has dropped him out of the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo conversation, says Shaun Goater, with Manchester City expected to be in the market for another forward over the summer.
Pep Guardiola’s squad is already well-stocked in that department, with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus battling it out for minutes in a striking berth.
They are supported from wide and deep by the likes of Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane.
Plenty of goals and assists have been contributed by that group, but City have endured uncharacteristic struggles for consistency in 2019-20.
Sterling has formed part of that over recent weeks, with the England international spurning chances as part of an eight-game run without a goal.
Goater admits that the 25-year-old, who is now sidelined through injury, cannot be placed alongside the global elite in that kind of form, while Guardiola may be mulling over his options when it comes to reinforcements.
The former Blues striker told Gentingbet: “I think he’ll be certainly looking into that because without the chances falling to Aguero it doesn't seem as though City are putting them away right now.
“I think Sterling’s going through a bad patch, and this has probably been two or three weeks, and we’re seeing Sterling miss a couple of chances he’s had in one-on-ones.
“There have been chances with balls that just need to be put over the line, I don't know from six, seven yards out and he’s missing them. In any other season, these would have been tap-ins and we’d have thought nothing of it.
“Gabriel Jesus seems to hit form and then sort of go in and out of form. So I think he’ll be having a real good look at a centre-forward, certainly over the summer.
“But with Raheem Sterling, at the start of the season he was absolutely on fire and then Guardiola dropped him.
“So is it not Pep’s own fault really for his drop in form, because you can’t score a goal from the bench?
“Yes, it’s interesting because when a player’s on form you want to play, but this is when the rotation comes in and resting players. And some games you could say yes, he warranted it to just leave him and keep him hot for the following game.
“But we’re now looking at it because it’s Raheem Sterling. I was one of those that was saying he needs to be part of that conversation when you talk about Messi and Ronaldo and these players.
“But his form, certainly in the last two or three weeks, has just dropped off that much that it’s nowhere near that conversation.
“But yes, Pep rested him in the early part of the season and now we’re probably looking back and thinking he should have just let him keep going.”