City boss pours scorn on theory of impending Aguero sale

LONDON • Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak insists reports that Sergio Aguero could be sold are ridiculous because the Argentinian striker remains a key player for the Premier League club.

Aguero lost his place in Pep Guardiola's starting line-up following the arrival of Brazil's Gabriel Jesus in January.

The 28-year-old, who has scored 122 league goals in 181 appearances since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, returned to the team following an injury to Jesus and finished the season as City's leading scorer with 33 goals.

But that has not stopped rumours about his future, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid all linked with him.

But Al Mubarak is adamant Aguero is too important to lose. "I've read a lot about the speculation on this and it is ridiculous," the chairman told City's website yesterday. "Sergio Aguero is one of the best players in the world and we are a team that aspires to win in every competition we compete in.

"Having Sergio Aguero as part of the squad is an absolute must and has never been a doubt."

Under the 45-year-old Guardiola, City finished third in the Premier League and were knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16, two stages earlier than the previous term.

"In a normal circumstance ending the season without a trophy would be a very disappointing season but it's not, it really isn't," Al-Mubarak said.

"I am very excited about how we are developing as a team, how Pep has taken the squad and really started a process of going through that natural cycle of development. You've seen many glimpses of us playing a type of football that is very exciting and very entertaining."

Al-Mubarak also denied Guardiola was surprised by English football. He said: "Pep has introduced a new way of playing for us, an exciting way but a way that requires work and which requires a set of players that I think function within that system. Probably if I look back at this season that puzzle wasn't complete and I hope this summer we support Pep in competing that puzzle."

City were hopeful of completing Brazilian Ederson's medical examination yesterday, ahead of signing the Benfica goalkeeper for £34.69 million (S$61.7 million), a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'City boss pours scorn on theory of impending Aguero sale'. Print Edition | Subscribe