Ian Wright has told Raheem Sterling that he wanted him to join Arsenal instead of Chelsea in the summer. The 27-year-old was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium for some time before eventually penning a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge instead.
According to The Athletic, Sterling expressed no desire to join the Gunners side despite having worked closely with Mikel Arteta at Manchester City. While the north Londoners missed out on the England international, former teammates Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko swapped the Etihad Stadium for the Emirates.
In an interview on Premier League Productions, Wright quizzed Sterling ahead of the highly-anticipated London derby at the weekend. The former Arsenal striker confessed that he ‘prayed’ there was truth in reports linking the winger to the Gunners.
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“I have got to ask you, with Arsenal coming up at the weekend, I was praying that there is truth in the talk about you coming,” said Wright. “But it didn’t happen – I got so psyched up about thinking of you in the red kit.”
Despite snubbing Arsenal, Sterling was very complimentary of the progress Arteta has made. The £47.5million-rated Chelsea talisman hailed Arsenal for their ‘beautiful’ football ahead of an ‘interesting’ bout.
“Everyone in the public can see that they have had a great start to the season, they are playing beautiful stuff,” Sterling said. “They are a team that have been building for a few years now.
“That’s what we are looking to do, to keep building and it’s a game that will be a really interesting one. They are a possession-dominant team, and so are we ourselves. I think it will be a good match.”
Chelsea have won just one of the previous six meetings with Arsenal. The Gunners have had the upper hand over their London rivals in recent times and Arteta will be hoping to continue said streak in a bid to defend their place at the top of the Premier League.
The Blues, on the other hand, sit sixth now and head into the tie off the back of a devastating 4-1 defeat to Brighton. With a tough fixture against Newcastle United just days later, Potter is at risk of exiting the race for top four before the World Cup.
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