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DZEK MATE; End game for Sterling if Kop go for Edin plus cash; DZEKO IS BAIT TO KOP.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by Neil Moxley USIVE

EDIN DZEKO holds the key to Manchester City winning the race for Raheem Sterling.

The striker is being lined up as the make-weight in a PS50million deal for the Liverpool forward.

Bosnia star Dzeko, 29, (right) is being offered to the Reds as the battle intensifies to sign Sterling - with Arsenal now also in hot pursuit.

City hoped that a straight cash deal would be enough to tip the balance in their favour for Sterling (below).

But it appears that a player-plus-cash deal, with the club also halting any attempt to prevent James Milner's move to Anfield with a mega-bucks deal, is on the table. The recruitment of a top-class striker would certainly solve one major headache for Kop boss Brendan Rodgers.

And Dzeko was among those on his hit-list this summer as the Ulsterman considered his plans to re-build at Anfield.

The swap would certainly suit the decision-makers at the Etihad who had been anticipating a PS15m offer from Juventus for Dzeko.

But whether that would go down well with Sterling's camp is another matter as the player still prefers a move back to the capital.

It has always been accepted that Chelsea would head the queue, but hardline statements from the player and his representatives this week that the Liverpool man will simply not be signing a new deal have led to Arsenal increasing their interest.

And that opens up the possibility of the Gunners offering up one of their squad in a move similar to the one proposed by City.

Theo Walcott has not yet signed a new deal at Arsenal and is returning from a long-term injury - and he could be offered to the Kop.

CAPTION(S):

MOVER: Raheem Sterling

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 24, 2015
Words:290
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