The Premier League has been graced by many of the world’s leading strikers. The likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Gianfranco Zola and Eric Cantona have all left their mark on the competition over the years, but the undoubted star of the 2010s has been the diminutive Argentine forward, Sergio Agüero.
Having served Atlético Madrid with distinction, Agüero signed for City in the summer of 2011 for a fee of £38 million and made an immediate impact, finding the net 23 times to finish as the Premier League’s third-highest scorer. One goal in particular that season achieved legendary status: the last-minute strike against QPR that secured the Premier League title.
He has gone on to score over 140 goals for the club and is currently in his seventh season. To have remained as first-choice striker over such a long period at one of the world’s wealthiest clubs, in Europe’s most competitive domestic league, is a remarkable feat and testament not just to his ability but also to his resilience, endurance and consistency.
That famous goal against QPR was just the first of many special achievements for the club. He won the Premier League title again in 2013-14, along with two Football League Cups, in 2013-14 and 2014-15. In the latter of those two seasons, he also finished as the top scorer in the division, and is already by some distance the highest goalscorer in Manchester City’s history, surpassing the likes of Eric Brook, Colin Bell and Francis Lee.
However, there could yet be more to come. This season could yet seem him play a major role in an unprecedented treble of trophies. As the senior striker at the club, his experience of playing in Premier League-winning sides will be invaluable to the younger players in the squad, such as Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, and if City reach the Champions League final, Pep Guardiola will look to Agüero to lead the attack on the biggest stage of all.
Having already won the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2014-15 season, Agüero is leading the way as City’s top scorer this season. He faces some stiff competition from the likes of Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, but according to the sports betting boffins, he is generally around a 7/2 shot to outscore his Premier League rivals.
All of which makes it imperative that City retain his services this summer. While there is no imminent risk of Agüero agitating for a departure, the club will be keen to anticipate any such development. As it stands, his contract, which was extended in January 2017, is set to run until 2020. Agüero has previously stated his intention to return to Independiente when his time at City ended, and while it will be of some comfort to City fans to know that he won’t end up at a rival team, they are not yet ready to say goodbye to their hero.
Of equal importance to the sentimental attachment that City fans feel towards Agüero is his immense value to the team. Gabriel Jesus may have a great future ahead of him, but he is not yet ready to lead the attack, and while City certainly have the funds to go out and buy one of the world’s best forwards – hence their apparent interest in Alexis Sánchez, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kylian Mbappé – it would surely make more sense to stick with the world-class forward they already have, who has demonstrated his commitment many times over.
Fortunately for City fans concerned about Agüero’s future at the club, suggestions of a rift between the player and Guardiola over selection issues appear to have been overstated. It seems to be the case that the City manager is looking to add a versatile forward to the squad, not necessarily a direct replacement. It is also a fact that Agüero has seen off more than one rival striker in his time at City – not to mention outlasting more than one manager.
The bottom line is that Agüero still has much more to offer. When his current contract expires, he will be just 30 years old, with his talents undiminished and a vast amount of experience to offer the younger players in the City squad. Inevitably, there will come a time when Agüero no longer wears the famous blue shirt, but that day should not come this summer, and City must pull out all the stops to ensure that their record-breaking star striker stays at the Etihad.