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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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Sergio Aguero continues to be linked with a Manchester City exit but why would they sell ?


The news that Chelsea have a "strong and serious interest" in signing Sergio Aguero should hardly come as a surprise. This is a 29-year-old striker with 122 Premier League goals to his name at a better strike rate than anyone else in the competition's so-called 100 club. If the champions could pair the Argentine with Eden Hazard, it would be a daunting prospect.
But while Chelsea's willingness to take Aguero to Stamford Bridge is no shock, the ongoing speculation regarding a possible Manchester City exit is the real curiosity here. The player is an icon at the Etihad Stadium, the scorer of the greatest goal in City's history and perhaps the club's greatest ever goalscorer too. Why on earth would they even consider a sale?
Not enough, it seems. Aguero's relationship with Guardiola has come under scrutiny since he was omitted from City's Champions League trip to Barcelona in October. In reality, there were question marks over Aguero's fitness levels following an international break but it became clear in January that the star striker's place was no longer guaranteed.

Gabriel Jesus's swift impact quickened the debate. Who is Guardiola's main man? Jesus's seven Premier League goals came at a rate of one every 93 minutes, even better than Aguero's record of a goal every 120 minutes last season. Could the Brazilian - labelled "the future of the club" by Guardiola - usurp the senior man?

The feeling persists that he is more naturally suited to the coach's demands. "He's got more movement than Aguero," said Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville in February. "Aguero is a sensational player but you can see already that Pep Guardiola is taking this more in the direction of the team he wants. Maybe Aguero isn't quite a fit for him."
Outwardly, Aguero has shown impressive willingness to adapt and to learn. He has been quick to point out that earlier in his career, he was utilised in a deeper role - opening up the possibility of him shifting to accommodate Jesus rather than the other way around. He has even upped his work rate with improved distance covered and sprinting stats. A tough task at 29.

That could further impinge upon Aguero's position at City. It could even persuade Guardiola that the time is right for the club to cash in on a valuable asset. But to sell to Chelsea and solve the London club's striker problem in the process? It would be a bold gamble given that Antonio Conte's team could well be City's biggest rivals in the race for the Premier League title.

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