Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero’s future has “never been in doubt”, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak says.
The Argentine, 28, lost his place in February to Gabriel Jesus, leading to speculation he might leave this summer.
“I’ve read a lot of the speculation on this and it’s ridiculous,” Al Mubarak said. “He is one of the best players in the world. He is an absolute must.”
Aguero scored 33 goals in 45 games this season and is contracted until 2020. He said in March he did not want to leave.
In a wide-ranging interview, Al Mubarak also told the City website:
- Finishing third in the Premier League was not a disappointment
- The club are looking to sign a goalkeeper and full-backs
- He wants right-back Pablo Zabaleta, who has joined West Ham, to return to City once he retires
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone:
Al Mubarak could not be any more firm in his comments about Aguero. Yet, there is an obvious truth that has to be taken into account.
City already have Gabriel Jesus who can play centrally. In addition, they have Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and new signing Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne who can play wide. In addition, while rumours about trying to sign Alexis Sanchez remain just that, Pep Guardiola clearly likes the Chilean.
So, if Sanchez did come, and Aguero. did stay, Guardiola would have his work cut out trying to keep everyone happy.
Season ‘not a disappointment’
Manager Pep Guardiola’s debut season ended with Manchester City finishing third in the Premier League and sealing a place in next season’s Champions League.
But the 46-year-old, who succeeded Manuel Pellegrini last summer after success-packed spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, could not help his side challenge for the title and they faced a tense battle to even finish in the top four.
Despite ending the season without a trophy, chairman Al Mubarak said their season was “not a disappointment”.
“We are team now that expects to win every year at least one trophy and go further every year in the Champions League,” he said.
“But, if you look at it from a different lens, we are truly going in a direction that is positive.
“Pep has introduced a new way of playing for us, an exciting way but a way that requires work and which requires a set of players that I think function within that system.
“Probably, if I look back at this season that puzzle wasn’t complete and I hope this summer we support Pep in completing that puzzle.”
Man City have already announced the signing of Portugal attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva from French champions Monaco, and are close to adding Benfica goalkeeper Ederson Moraes to their ranks.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart has confirmed he will be returning to Manchester City from his season-long loan at Torino, but is expected to leave City for good this summer.
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, winger Jesus Navas and full-backs Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna are also all departing the Manchester club.
And chairman Al Mubarak said there are clearly positions that they need to fill in the summer transfer window.
“You can see the players that are exiting right now, and that will give a clear indication of the positions that are a high priority for us to fill – full-backs both on the right and the left,” he said.
“Pep relies heavily on that position and we know exactly what Pep wants.
“You should expect us to bring in a goalkeeper. We’ve done a lot of work on this area and our target has been set. Hopefully you’ll be hearing soon what we’re going to be doing in that area.”
Al Mubarak on…
Pablo Zabaleta: “For me, he represents the essence of Manchester city – a fighter. He is someone special and if we can have 25 Pablos in our squad we would win it all. I think he still plans on playing for a couple of years – but once he hangs his boots up he will come back in some capacity.”
David Silva: “He is one of the most talented players in the world and it truly baffles me. How he could be so underrated in the UK is an enigma to me. He is well respected everywhere in the world but somehow always misses out on the big awards in the UK. It’s ridiculous frankly.”
Yaya Toure: “He has shown us this year again and again how he can contribute to this team. Pep, as you have seen obviously this year, has a lot of trust and confidence in him. So I hope Yaya will be with us and continue his journey with us.”
Leroy Sane: “He’s the right age, the right talent, one of the most exciting prospects in Europe, and he’s shown that on the pitch this year.”
John Stones: “He is going to be one of the best central defenders in the world, I have no doubt about that. A top, top player.”
Gabriel Jesus: “He is 19, one of the top future talents in the world.”
Vincent Kompany: “I am absolutely delighted the way he ended the season. It’s been an extremely difficult journey for him. It’s not been easy watching the rest of the team play and having to deal with some of the injuries he’s had. But he’s dealt with it.”
Source: BBC Sport