Manchester City return to Champions League action against Les Blancos Real Madrid this week, in what could be their last foray into Europe's elite club competition for several years.
The club were thrown into turmoil earlier this month after they were handed a ban from European football for two seasons by UEFA.
The European governing board for football sanctioned the club after it breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations by allegedly overspending in their development of their very large and talented squad of players.
City have appealed against the ban which could change the course of their European fate and of the way football develops over the coming years.
Take Sterling as the prime example of Guardiola’s influence. Before the coach’s arrival at City, Sterling had just come out of a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign with many questioning whether he was ready - or perhaps even not good enough - to start in England’s attack.
However, following Guardiola’s appointment, Sterling has hit double figures in all competitions in each of the last four seasons and is now one of Southgate’s key players ahead of a crucial European Championships this summer. Should either Guardiola or Sterling - alongside Stones, Walker or City academy product Phil Foden - leave Manchester City, then Southgate risks losing an important ally in the development of some of England’s core players in the years to come.