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England star Raheem Sterling joins Chelsea on five-year contract

London, July 13 (IANS) England star Raheem Sterling has joined Chelsea from Manchester City on a five-year contract.

On returning to London to play for the Blues, Sterling said, “First and foremost, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve obviously achieved a lot in my career so far, but there is still so much more to achieve and I’m really looking forward to doing that in a Chelsea shirt, under Thomas’s management.”

“London is my home and where it all started for me, and it’s amazing I now have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family week in, week out at Stamford Bridge. I’m really looking forward to meeting the fans there soon. I do want to take the opportunity to thank Todd, Behdad, the ownership group, Thomas, and all involved in the process of getting me here,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get going now and continue to do my talking on the pitch.”

Earlier on Wednesday Sterling announced his departure from Manchester City ahead of a move to Chelsea. The 27-year-old’s move to Chelsea is expected in the next 24 hours as he had a medical with the club on Sunday.

“Seven seasons. Eleven major trophies. A lifetime of memories. To the coaching staff who have played a massive role in my development over the years. To my teammates who have become more than just those I share a pitch with. To the backroom staff. To the office staff. To the fans who have tirelessly supported the team. And to everyone involved with Manchester City, my respect for you couldn’t be greater,” said Sterling.

Sterling has been one of City’s key performers over the past seven seasons, hitting double figures for goals in each of those campaigns and claiming nine major honours, including four Premier League titles.

A direct dribbler who thrives in any position across the front three or just behind a central striker, the 27-year-old utilises a perfect combination of skill, speed and timing to torment defenders, whether with the ball at his feet or with his consistently productive runs in behind.

The England international’s offensive attributes have posted impressive numbers in recent seasons, including 25 goal contributions last term as Man City retained the domestic title and reached the Champions League semifinals. The majority of his goals are converted from close range, a testament to the forward’s clever movement and impeccable timing in the 18-yard box.

Todd Boehly, chairman and co-controlling owner, said, “Raheem Sterling is a serial winner and his signing is an important step in strengthening our squad. We are delighted for Raheem to return to London with Chelsea, and we look forward to seeing his world-class talent on display at Stamford Bridge.”

City signed Sterling from Liverpool in a 49m pound deal in 2015. He went on to score 131 goals in 339 games, winning four Premier League titles.

Capped 77 times by England, Sterling will become Chelsea’s first major signing since the Todd Boehly-led takeover. He will now link up with the Chelsea squad who flew out for their pre-season tour to the United States on Saturday.

–IANS

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