It's very difficult to know what to make of the World Cup Raheem Sterling has just had.
England surprised many with their run to the semi-finals and the likes of Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, and Jordan Pickford saw their reputations enhanced dramatically.
That wasn't the case for the Manchester City forward, who failed to get on the scoresheet and missed some glorious chances along the way.
At the same time, his energy and work-rate were hugely impressive and it could be argued that the Three Lions wouldn't have performed as well as they did had he not run the defences of Panama, Colombia, and Sweden ragged.
Big things were expected of the 23-year-old, who had the season of his life in 2017/18, winning the Premier League and scoring 23 goals in all competitions.
As he prepares to return to pre-season training after a short break, his attention will now turn to retaining the title - yet, there's also the pertinent issue of his contract situation to consider.
The Mirror report that the former Liverpool attacker put talks over a new deal on hold because he thought his performances out in Russia would convince his club to up their offer.
The plan has backfired
While he had a decent tournament, he didn't do enough to convince City to give him the £250,000-a-week that he believes he's worth or to attract interest from another elite European side.
This was a conscious gamble by his representatives that has not paid off and his employers are determined they won't be held to ransom.
The Telegraph have corroborated these claims that Sterling will therefore be sold next summer if he hasn't agreed to an extension by then, as Pep Guardiola will not let him run down his contract a la Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal.
Guardiola knows the Chilean well from their time together at Barcelona but saw the impact his contract stalemate had at the Emirates before he eventually joined Manchester United.
And so, the two camps are at loggerheads. City have made themselves clear, yet Sterling's agents argue that he is so young and is getting better all the time.
Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne are the current top earners.
According to the newspaper, the champions can at least focus their efforts on tying current players down as they have decided against pursuing Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara or Juventus' Miralem Pjanic in the coming weeks.
Does Sterling deserve such a lucrative deal? Have your say in the comments.
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