(Reuters) – Raheem Sterling said his new club Chelsea feel “tailor-made” for him due to the progress they have made under manager Thomas Tuchel and because going there gives him the chance to reconnect with his London roots.
The England forward, 27, joined from Premier League champions Manchester City last month, becoming Chelsea’s first signing under new ownership led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
Tuchel, who took over at Stamford Bridge in January 2021, has guided Chelsea to Champions League and Club World Cup triumphs, as well as two FA Cup finals and one League Cup final.
“I had a few options but this was the one that was tailor-made for my personal goals. It made a lot of sense for my family and with the direction of the club,” Sterling told reporters on Thursday.
“They have been in four or five finals in the last few years. It shows they are competing and are only going up so with the new owners in, it all made sense.”
Sterling, who grew up in north west London, moved to Liverpool’s academy from Queens Park Rangers in 2010 as a 15-year-old and started his senior career in Merseyside before switching to City in 2015.
“Going up to Liverpool and manifesting what I wanted, going to City and living the dream, and now coming back to London as a grown adult… I feel like it’s my full journey,” Sterling said.
Sterling established himself as a regular in City’s frontline, netting 131 times in 339 games and winning both the league title and League Cup four times and the FA Cup once.
However, his playing time was limited last season and he said he could not afford to “waste time” trying to nail down a regular starting place.
“As a person, you strive to achieve… I have a lot of memories and top moments at City but in the year and a bit that I was in and out of the team it made me value a lot of things,” Sterling added.
“To get to a peak time in my career and not be playing as a regular was something I didn’t want to accept… It’s one of those things in life where you have to make the right decision for yourself and your family.”
Chelsea, who began their league campaign with a 1-0 win at Everton, will host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad)