Chelsea's first splash signing of the summer is coming in the form of Raheem Sterling. The Manchester City winger will be swapping shades of blue following a £47.5 million move. He'll sign a five-year contract with an option for another year as well, according to the Athletic. The deal is pending a medical, but if all goes well, Sterling will join Chelsea on their preseason tour in the United States.
While Pep Guardiola wanted to keep Sterling, a move had to be made to avoid losing him on a free transfer as he entered the final 12 months of his deal with the team. In 339 appearances for Manchester City, Sterling scored 131 goals as his dynamic speed allowed him to consistently get into dangerous areas with the ball.
Finishing has been something that Sterling has been criticized for, but he has been involved in more than 17 goals in each of the last five seasons and won the Premier League title in four of those five seasons. At only 27, Sterling is also making the move to Chelsea to play for Thomas Tuchel in his prime. Manchester City will look to replace his minutes with Phil Foden and Cole Palmer, but losing Sterling will certainly be a blow even if he wasn't always the first name on the team sheet.
A versatile attacker, Sterling is able to deputize at any position in a front three, but he is most comfortable on the left wing. While defense is a need for the Blues as well, when a player of Sterling's caliber becomes available, you do what you can to add them. Unless Chelsea add a striker, this would see their attack line up with Sterling, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount as Thomas Tuchel's top choices.
That could lead to fewer minutes for Christian Pulisic, who already struggled for playing time last season, starting only 13 Premier League matches for the squad. With the amount of games that Chelsea will play being involved in Champions League and two league cups, there is certainly time for Pulisic to play, but it will still be disappointing to see his minutes limited ahead of the World Cup. Timo Werner could also end up leaving the club due to the logjam forming on the wing.
Chelsea are still chasing other deals, as they could also be adding Sterling's teammate Nathan Ake from Manchester City after on a potential deal. Raphinha could also join as Leeds United have accepted Chelsea's bid for the Brazilian winger, but his camp are stalling to see if Barcelona can match the offer as that is his preferred destination.
Then there's the looming Cristiano Ronaldo question. As he has been to deal with a family issue/sort out his future at Manchester United, Chelsea is one of the only teams who can meet his demands while offering competition at the highest levels of the game. United will only let Ronaldo go for an acceptable bid, but with only 12 months left on the 37-year-old's contract, they can't be expecting that much money even if he did score 18 goals last season in the Premier League.
After clearing out the Chelsea board, it's an important few weeks ahead for Chelsea's American owner/acting sporting director Todd Boehly. He's going all in on soccer negotiating to fill out Tuchel's dream lineup, but with the team being built to compete for a Premier League title, will they be able to bridge the gap between their third-place finish last season and Liverpool and Manchester City, while also holding off Tottenham? Weakening City will help, but there's still a long way to go.