Raheem Sterling never thought about leaving Manchester City for Arsenal
MANCHESTER -- Raheem Sterling never doubted that Pep Guardiola wanted to keep him at Manchester City following interest from Arsenal in the summer.
Reports suggested that the England international was considered as part of a potential swap deal for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, who Guardiola wanted to sign in the summer.
The City boss has insisted there was "zero chance" of Sterling being sold, and the 22-year-old says that was enough to not give a second thought to leaving the club.
"I didn't need to speak with [Guardiola] because I had already spoke to him during the summer about preseason," Sterling told a news conference ahead of City's Champions League clash with Napoli on Tuesday.
"I didn't have any negative thoughts or anything bad about it [the speculation]. I just woke up one day with England, saw it, and I didn't believe a word of it until I heard something from the manager, then I would believe it.
"It wasn't something I was worried about, because Pep is an honest guy, and he would have spoken to me about it before that. So I didn't need to worry about it, and I didn't think about it, not for one minute."
Sterling has played a key part in City's excellent start to the season that has seen them move two points clear at the top of the Premier League as well as having a perfect opening in the Champions League.
The former Liverpool forward has seven goals in all competitions so far this season and is closing in on his best every tally of 11 goals in a campaign, which he has achieved twice.
"I need to continue focusing on getting in the goal-scoring areas," Sterling said. "That's the most important thing for me, trying to get inside the box, because that's where the majority of my goals come from.
"I'm always building and trying to improve on the year before. That's no different this season. I just need to make sure I'm getting in the box and I'm hoping to get into double figures this year.
"I keep growing and learning, and loving the game. There are ups and downs in football, and you just have to pick yourself up. Each time that things don't go your way, you've got to keep working hard and keep trying to be the player that you know you want to be. I know exactly what I want to achieve, and I'll keep building for that."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.