Sergio Aguero is too good to be a substitute.
But that’s his reality, right now.
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Aguero, 28, has been on the bench for City’s last three game in all competitions, with teenage sensation Gabriel Jesus starting in his place up top.
Jesus scored twice in Sunday’s 2-1 win against Swansea City (which included a stoppage-time winner) which keeps Pep Guardiola‘s men 10 points behind leaders Chelsea. Right now, Jesus is the main man at City and Aguero has the toughest competition he’s ever faced for a starting spot since he arrived at the Etiahd Stadium in 2011.
Does that mean Aguero is ready to move on?
“No, no, I don’t want to leave. I have to help the team as much as I can in these three months. Afterwards we’ll see what the club wants to do with me,” Aguero told reporters after the game. “In three years, my contract is up – that’s why I say I’m happy at the club. In these last three months that are left I have to help the club and, as I say, the club will decide if I have a place here or not.
“Sometimes this happens. When you’re on the bench you have to wait for your opportunity. I have three months to do my best and try to help the team and we’ll see what happens with my future. He [Jesus] is a great player. He’s a very young player but he will learn a lot at City and he will have a great future at the club.”
Although he said he’s happy, if Aguero spends the next few months on the bench then it will be intriguing to see what the summer brings. A goalscorer of his caliber — he’s scored 154 goals in 234 games for City in all competitions — doesn’t become available often but it’s hard to believe City will sell Aguero.
The Argentine international played down a meeting between his agent and Guardiola recently and spoke about learning from Jesus but also gave a little reminder as to what he’s achieved.
“Yes, at the moment I have to watch what he does, to learn, it could be a little bit. I am how I am. I have spent a lot of years in Europe playing the same way,” Aguero said.
In the week Guardiola said unequivocally that Aguero and Gabriel could play up top together. We saw that in the closing stages against Swansea and it wrecked havoc. Perhaps that’s the way to go moving forward but then it takes one of Leroy Sane or Raheem Sterling out of the attack, and they’ve been superb alongside Jesus in recent weeks.
With Aguero more of a penalty-box predator than a player who will hunt down lost causes like Jesus, the latter seems to fit better into Guardiola’s philosophy of winning the ball back within six seconds of the opposition having it. Yes, Guardiola tinkers with the team (as the stat above suggests) but Aguero was perhaps the only player at City who many believed possessed world class quality.
All of a sudden Aguero is the odd man out, despite his supreme quality as a goalscorer coveted by many of the worlds top clubs. If he stays on the sidelines for much longer he’ll surely demand to leave.