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How does Aguero’s impending arrival at Barcelona help them keep hold of Messi?

Aguero and his magical centre of gravity are apparently headed for Catalan shores – answering Barcelona’s need for a striker to replace Luis Suarez.

Written by Shashank Nair , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 26, 2021 8:00:31 am
AgueroManchester City players throw teammate Manchester City's Sergio Aguero in the air to celebrate winning the English Premier League title. (AP photo)

A farewell from Manchester City with the English Premier League trophy and a possible Champions League crown – the one accolade missing from Etihad’s trophy cabinet – is the final send-off that Argentine striker Sergio Aguero covets. Brought along with David Silva and Yaya Toure to make City the best team in Manchester, Aguero rose to the challenge, scoring 260 goals in 10 seasons, despite having niggling muscle injuries throughout his time in England.

To understand what makes Aguero special, one simply needs to look at the list of Premier League’s greatest goal-scorers. Englishmen Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andy Cole (187) sit on top of the list, having taken over 400 appearances to amass their haul. Aguero, fourth on the list, has 184 EPL goals in an astonishing 275 games, at 0.67 goals per game. Only two men are ahead of Aguero in terms of scoring average per game – Thierry Henry and Harry Kane (both scored 0.68 goals per game through their careers in the EPL).

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What is Aguero’s next destination?

Aguero and his magical centre of gravity are apparently headed for Catalan shores – answering Barcelona’s need for a striker to replace Luis Suarez. The secret was spilled by City manager Pep Guardiola himself when he said, “Maybe, I reveal a secret. Maybe, he is close to agreeing a deal for the club of my heart – for Barcelona.” He added, “He is going to be playing alongside the best player of all time, Messi.”

What does he bring to Barcelona as a veteran striker?

Aguero comes with a guarantee of goals. His game hasn’t slowed down despite entering his mid-30s. The striker is possibly not as sharp as the razor’s edge knife that he’s always known to be, but that doesn’t mean he’s blunt. Barcelona’s attack had to revert to a one-man show wherein Lionel Messi had another 30+ goal-scoring season, and despite the Catalans scoring 18 goals more than league champions Atletico Madrid, it was a poor year defensively (letting in a goal per game on average) that let them down. Aguero can hardly be expected to help out in that part of the field.

Aguero Aguero heads the ball to score his side’s fifth goal against Everton on Sunday (AP photo)

Impact in football tends to be judged in tangibles like scoring, assisting, But the focus on numbers often takes attention away from the general impact a player is likely to have in a team. If Aguero signs on the dotted line for Barcelona, chances are that his recruitment isn’t just about his talent. It might also be a peace offering to another star – rather – THE star at Barcelona.

How does Aguero’s signing help Barcelona keep hold of Messi?

International teammates have often been known to try to recruit each other to their respective clubs over the years. Aguero and Messi might finally play together and that in itself might be a big reason for the latter to sign a new contract with Barcelona, which would be the best possible outcome for new club president Joan Laporta.

Providing a proven goal-scorer to Messi alleviates the burden that the superstar has been forced to carry for a while now. The departures of Neymar and Suarez in recent times have essentially left the Argentine to fend for himself. Antoine Griezmann’s signing hasn’t panned out in the way it was supposed to. Aguero could be the key to keeping Messi happy.

How does Aguero’s signing help Barcelona’s finances?

Barcelona and budgeting have really not had a good relationship. The Catalan club has been suffering due to poor financial decisions stemming from the need to keep hold of Messi. Doing so has come at the cost of the club’s finances. The cost of being competitive and keeping the best player in the world also means that now, when some of the best strikers in the world are available (Erling-Braut Haaland, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe), Barcelona have had to watch from afar, knowing that providing an attractive financial package to them is beyond their means.

Aguero’s signing, in this instance, becomes a stop-gap of sorts. An ESPN report suggests that Aguero is taking a massive pay cut to be a part of Barcelona. Signing the striker on a free transfer means Barcelona can squeeze the best football out of Messi’s remaining years by reducing the burden of scoring goals he has had to carry. If the deal goes through, it could be let Barcelona have two Argentines running the show instead of none.

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