It is the hot topic on everyone’s lips and it seems like Sergio Aguero’s future could well be forecast looking at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s history.
It is safe to say that Guardiola’s first season at Man City is proving to be his most difficult yet and was it not for Gabriel Jesus’ injury time goal against Swansea, he could have found himself answering uncomfortable questions yet again.
Guardiola made a big decision to drop star striker Sergio Aguero to the bench only bringing him on for the final seven minutes of the game after Gylfi Sigurdsson had equalised for the Swans. This wasn’t the first time this season that Aguero saw himself benched either, as Pep’s XI against Barcelona in the Champions League was also devoid of the Argentine.
This isn’t the first time Guardiola has had problems with his club’s star strikers in his career. At Barcelona, he had a row with Samuel Eto’o when he took charge and decided to dispel with the Cameroonian in 2009 even after he scored 35 goals the season before. In a recent interview, Eto’o claimed that Pep refused to talk to him and failed to apologise even when seeking to mend fences.
It was a similar story for Mario Mandzukic at Bayern Munich as well. The Croatian who had joined the Bavarian giants just the season before had his most prolific year under Guardiola but the Spaniard deemed it unsatisfactory and replaced him with Robert Lewandowski who has in all fairness gone on to justify Pep’s decision.
The problem for Eto’o and Mandzukic is the same as the one confronting Aguero right now that they are pure strikers whilst Pep prefers a player who can track back constantly and one who can be used to close down passing options for the opposition as against one who is only looking to score. The Argentine’s goalscoring prowess is certainly unquestionable, but it is his work-rate that has come under question.
In Gabriel Jesus, Pep seems to have a player more in line with his thinking. Furthermore, the youngster will have no qualms about simply following the instructions from his new manager, while Aguero might find himself following his instincts ever so often. The ex-Atletico man is also hungry for success and despite leading City to that dramatic 2012 title win and another in 2014, European success has by and large eluded him. At 28, he knows his chances of securing are getting slimmer with every passing year.
It is no wonder then that most gambling sites are quickly slashing their odds on the player to leave Man City by the end of the next transfer window. A return to his alma mater Atletico Madrid is early favourite as the odds have been slashed from 8/1 to 7/2 in some cases. Atleti’s crosstown rivals Real have never made any secrets about their desire to lure Aguero and Los Blancos are 7/1 to sign him.
There is of course still a lot of time for the relationship between Guardiola and Aguero to mend, but if the saying history repeats itself is anything to go by. Then it certainly seems as if the smart bet is on the Argentine to bid farewell to Manchester this summer.