LONDON — Pep Guardiola hopes to convince Raheem Sterling to stay at Manchester City for a long time.
The 23-year-old England forward scored his 50th Premier League goal as the champions began their Premier League title defense with a 2-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday.
Sterling has two years left to run on the five-year deal signed when he moved to City from Liverpool in July 2015.
"We are delighted with him and would like Raheem to stay," Guardiola said. "We'll do our effort to make him feel we count on him. And we count on him. We arrived after a difficult season and I told him I want to help him and would like him to be happy.
"In the end, the agents may not have agreements and that may not happen. But he knows, and his agent knows, we like him and want him a lot."
Sterling's finishing has been in the spotlight — it is almost three years since he scored for England — and he marked his goal after just 14 minutes with a cupped ear celebration at the Emirates Stadium.
"There's been a lot of talking," Sterling told broadcaster Sky Sports. "It's just one of those things I get judged on. I've got to keep improving and getting more goals."
Bernardo Silva struck in the second half as City exposed the size of the task facing new Arsenal manager Unai Emery. This was Arsenal's first Premier League game since 1996 not being led by Arsene Wenger, who left the north London club in May.