Now that we know Sergio Aguero will officially leave Manchester City this summer, what are the best options in terms of his successor(s)?
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Realistically, nobody will get close to replacing Aguero, 32, and the huge impact the Argentine superstar has had at the Etihad Stadium over the last 10 years.
He is the all-time leading goalscorer at Manchester City and along with Vincent Kompany and David Silva, he helped set the foundation for the most successful period in club history.
There are plenty of ways that City could move on without Aguero, and here is a look at their five best options.
5. No forward
This could actually happen. Pep Guardiola has played Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and others in a false nine role this season and it has always worked pretty well. Aguero has been out injured for most of the 2020-21 season which means that Guardiola has been planning for a future without him without really knowing it. The fluid movement of City’s front four (and as a team, really, with Joao Cancelo often leading the charge from right back…) could be their biggest weapon as they cope with losing Aguero. Of course, Lionel Messi has been linked with a move to City but he is a different type of player to an all-out striker and it seems increasingly likely he may stay at Barcelona, where his close friend Aguero could join him…
4. Danny Ings
The Southampton striker is out of contract next summer and with just over 12 months left on his current deal, Ings has been linked with a cut-price move to Manchester City. He is 28, so still has at least another three or four years left at the top, and he has proved he can score regularly in the Premier League at a club much further down the table. That shows that Ings is a predator and he will get plenty more chances to score at City. He would be a short-term option and the England international could provide a very good stop-gap solution for Erling Haaland (who is available for $91 million in June 2022 due to a release clause) especially if he will only cost $25-30 million this summer due to his contractual situation. The main issue with Ings: will he stay fit? And will he be happy to move to City if he doesn’t start every single game?
3. Gabriel Jesus
Of course, it seems like Man City have had their heir to Aguero under their nose the whole time. Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus is still just 23 years old, and he has already scored 80 goals in all competitions for City. But is he ready to replace Aguero and be their go-to man up top? Despite his flurries of goals from time to time, the jury is still out on Jesus. City could do a lot, lot worse than handing him the keys to their attack but he has shown that he isn’t as clinical as Aguero (who is!?) and injuries have hampered him this season. Jesus has only been a back-up until this point, so let’s see if he can step things up and prove what he has learned from Aguero.
2. Harry Kane
Okay, now we are getting to the big hitters. The stars could have aligned perfectly for Man City to try this. Tottenham are struggling to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and Kane, 27, is now seriously at the point of his career where he has to think about winning trophies. He could just stay at Tottenham, and that will probably be fine for him, but the chance to be the main man for Manchester City as they are guaranteed to challenge for, and win, trophies, could be too big to turn down. He will also get a hefty wage increase, but the big question is: does Kane’s style suit Man City? He drops back and creates, plus holds the ball up and scores all types of goals. But there is an argument to be made that moving to a club like Manchester United or Real Madrid would suit Kane’s style of play more. Also, what will Tottenham’s asking price be? Probably close to a world-record fee of over $200 million and City may not be willing to spend that.
1. Erling Haaland
This seems like the perfect passing of the torch, from Aguero to Haaland. The Norwegian forward, 20, has been in sensational form not only this season but his entire career. Haaland is wanted by Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and just about every giant in European soccer. He has a clause in his contract where he can leave Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022 for $91 million, but it is believed plenty of clubs are trying to sign Haaland this summer to jump ahead of their competitors. Haaland, like Aguero, is a goal machine. He has scored 79 goals in 77 appearances for RB Salzburg and Dortmund since 2019 and he is a real poacher in the box. Like Kane, his hold up and link up play is good too, but Haaland is a pure goalscorer. His father, Alf Inge, played for Man City in the past and that would appear to give them the upper-hand, despite Guardiola not getting on with his agent Mino Raiola. Haaland is the best option to replace Aguero, but is he the most realistic option?