Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero’s time at Manchester City is up. At least if you believe recent reports that is. Gabriel Jesus scored two on his first league start whilst ‘Kun’ looked on from the subs bench. This has fuelled stories that the Argentine is surplus to requirements. Rather than being his successor however, I think Gabriel Jesus may well be the best thing to happen to Aguero...
The Numbers Game
In each of their two Premier League title wins City have rotated from a pool of four strikers. Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli in 2011/2012. In 2013/14 again it was Aguero and Dzeko with an accompaniment this time of Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic. The ability to rotate between four top class strikers meant there was an allowance for injury or loss of form.
This season, and last, the departure of Edin Dzeko and failure to launch Wilfried Bony meant young Kelechi Iheanacho was the only back up striker. Stat’s wise Sergio didn’t suffer though, scoring more league goals than in both City’s title winning campaigns. Whilst ‘Kun’ had a more productive campaign, City scored 31 fewer goals than in their last Championship winning season. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that Aguero needed back up.
The Cavalry Arrives
Gabriel Jesus’ arrival in January gave City a much needed option in attack. Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Nolito had all played some time in the central attacking role with varying levels of success. What was clear however was that none of them were lethal enough in front of goal. Jesus started at the point of a three man attack in City’s last two games, scoring three in the process. The Brazilian has played as an attacking wide man in his time at Palmeiras and may well be required to do so in future games. The fact he started over Aguero in the last two games should be seen as a positive for City. Successful teams almost always have more than one player getting the goals. Rather than seeing Jesus as successor to ‘Kun’ I like to think of how good it will be when both play together.
Pep Guardiola must have known that leaving Aguero on the bench for two straight games would raise some questions. Questions which the Blues’ boss happily fielded after the win over Swansea. “Sergio remains one of the most important players in our squad” said Guardiola. The key word I took from that sentence was ‘squad’. Aguero is an integral part of Manchester City and Pep may well be protecting him. A few games off to refresh him, a new goal scorer to relieve him of the burden and a young understudy ready to push him on to new heights.
I’m not sure why the press have decided to report this as a negative story. It really should be seen as a huge positive. Manchester City still have plenty of games to play this season. The introduction of Gabriel Jesus should improve them greatly whilst giving them an extra option in attack. He should very much be seen as an addition and not a replacement.
Sergio Aguero is only 28 years old. He signed a contract extension to remain with City until 2020.
When asked after the Swansea game if he was considering leaving Aguero said, “No, no. 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”. From these comments there may be an inference that Sergio will consider his future in the summer.
His next sentence however suggested otherwise. "In three years my contract is up, that's why I say I'm happy at the club”. Aguero also spoke of learning from his new team mate. Many at his level would surely baulk at the idea that a 19 year old could teach them something. Imagine how much Jesus will learn in return as he plays and trains alongside City’s top scorer.
The Argentine international has scored 113 goals in just 168 league appearances. He has been prolific since his arrival and would be an attractive target for Europe’s top teams. I think it is nonsense however to suggest he doesn’t fit into his manager’s style of play or his future plans. Pep Guardiola says he is an important player and Sergio Aguero says he wants to stay. That for me says more than any newspaper report to the contrary.
Rather than be Aguero’s replacement, I feel sure that the arrival of Gabriel Jesus will assist in the continued brilliance of one of the best strikers in the game.
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