Sergio Aguero’s departure from Manchester City this summer is set to spark a scramble for the striker’s services.
It was confirmed on Monday evening that City’s all-time record goalscorer will leave the club at the end of the current season when his contract expires.
Aguero has enjoyed a sparkling career at the Etihad Stadium since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, helping the club to win four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups.
The Argentine forward is to be immortalised for his achievements, with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak confirming that a statue will be erected outside the Etihad, alongside those of his former team-mates David Silva and Vincent Kompany.
Looking ahead to his potential destinations in the summer, Aguero will reportedly not be short of offers, with the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Inter Milan and even City’s rivals Manchester United, all linked.
The attraction of landing one of the most high profile strikers in Europe on a free transfer is obvious, and one that could even present itself to other Premier League clubs.
It is understood Chelsea are among those looking for a top striker this summer, with interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.
But could Aguero be a back-up option for the Blues? Before joining City, The Guardian reported that Aguero almost joined Chelsea for £45 million, which would have been a British record at the time, before Atletico raised their asking price.
In 2010 the striker previously hinted at his admiration for the west London side and admitted living in the capital would be an attractive proposition.
He told reporters: “I look at players like [Didier] Drogba and [Frank] Lampard and they have been – and still are – the best players in their positions in the world. I could really learn from players like that.
“Chelsea are a great club. They have become one of the most feared in Europe over recent years. London would be a really amazing city to live in as well – myself and my wife could be really happy there.”
His attraction to London echoes that of another high profile player who had a choice of top clubs, before choosing Arsenal in 2014 – Alexis Sanchez.
Liverpool were also thought to be keen on signing the Chilean from Barcelona, but former Reds CEO Ian Ayre revealed afterwards that Sanchez opted to join Arsenal thanks to the lure of living in London.
“The thing to understand is that you are never actually in complete control of who you buy and sell as a club,” Ayre previously said at Liverpool John Moores University’s Roscoe Lecture Series.
“There was much-publicised interest in Alexis Sanchez, as part of the deal which saw Luis [Suarez] go to Barcelona, and that deal was done.
“The only reason it wasn’t was that the player and his wife wanted to live in London.
“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately!”
Arsenal are not thought to be interested in a move for Aguero currently, but former Gunners midfielder Paul Merson believes Mikel Arteta’s side would be a good fit for the striker.
He told Sky Sports: “Will he stay in England or will his next move be abroad? If he stays in England, I think Arsenal would suit the style he would be looking for. They’d be a good choice.
The summer transfer window is just around the corner.
And the rumour mill is already starting to pick up speed.
Arsenal will not have a huge amount of money to spend, but Mikel Arteta will be hoping to make a number of moves, with loanee Martin Odegaard high up the list of priorities to bring in on a permanent deal.
But who would you sign? Get involved in our transfer window debate here.
“Mikel Arteta was at Manchester City, and the way Arsenal play – they get around the box, and they do create a lot of opportunities. Arsenal do tick that box for Aguero.
“But if does he go abroad where the intensity is not as hard as it is in England? He could go somewhere with a different climate and where the games are not as intense as they are in the Premier League.
“That could help with his injury problems as he moves into the latter stages of his career. It’s an important move for Aguero as he moves into the final stage of a glittering career.”