Guardiola open to new Man City deal for 'amazing' Sterling
Pep Guardiola is hopeful in-form forward Raheem Sterling can extend his stay at Manchester City.
England international Sterling has been in dazzling form for the Premier League leaders this season, with his haul of 13 goals across all competitions already his best for a single campaign.
His latest strike was a brilliant injury-time winner to sink Southampton 2-1 on Wednesday, having similarly seen off Huddersfield Town last weekend.
Sterling signed a five-year deal when he joined City from Liverpool in 2015 but the club are reported to be keen on offering him fresh terms due to his increasing importance to Guardiola's side - August links to Arsenal as a makeweight in a deal for Alexis Sanchez fading evermore quickly from view.
"It's not my business right now, it's for Txiki [Begiristain, City's director of football]," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City's home game against West Ham on Sunday, where he will welcome back Sterling's fellow attacker Leroy Sane following a bout of illness.
"We were clear as a club in the beginning of the season when Arsenal maybe wanted him and we said 'absolutely not, that is not going to happen'."
Guardiola has been widely credited for playing a huge role in unlocking Sterling's potential following a pair of patchy seasons in east Manchester but the former Barcelona boss insists the plaudits should rest with the player.
"All the credit is deserved to him," he said. "All the managers around the world want to help their players. If they pay good we will survive; if they play bad we will be sacked.
"Believe me, I didn't discover Raheem - the player he is, the quality in the last action and his dribbling is his talent.
"He did it at Liverpool. He played amazing and that is why Manchester City paid a lot of money to take him at a young age. All the credit is for him.
"It's the same when we try to help a player and that player does not play good. I do not feel guilty because he's not playing good. At the same time, I do not feel responsibility for Raheem's form.
"All we have done during the season with Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, [Nicolas] Otamendi, John Stones before he got injured - all the players who play on the top, top level, it is absolutely to their credit. It is how good they are."
Guardiola feels Sterling's decision to take a step back from social media, where he became a target for some vitriolic abuse following his protracted Liverpool exit and poor performances for England at Euro 2016, has been a helpful factor but, again, something to be considered in the context of the 22-year-old's considerable ability.
"Of course, we are happy for him. He is a guy who has big love in the locker room. He is a guy who is more stable, less into social media. More focused on football and his private life," Guardiola added.
"He is free to do whatever he wants but sometimes they do that [post on social media] and they have 20 million comments criticising him and he can avoid it.
"The people insult you and criticise you because you show a picture or a snapchat or something like that.
"So stay for yourself, enjoy yourself with your family and your friends and no one has to know what you do in your private life. That is my opinion but they can do whatever they want with their free time.
"If the reason why he scores a lot of goals is staying out of social media I will say to all the players, 'off the social media'! It is not about that."
Sterling famously dubbed himself "The Hated One" on Instagram at Euro 2016. His current standing with his manager, team-mates and the City faithful could scarcely represent more of a contrast.