EPL

Guardiola targets free-scoring striker as Aguero bids farewell to Man City

By Sports Desk May 22, 2021

Pep Guardiola would love to bring a free-scoring striker to Manchester City, amid speculation surrounding Harry Kane, with Sergio Aguero saying goodbye to the club.

Aguero will leave City after next week's Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

The Argentine, who joined the club in 2011 and has gone on to become the Premier League's leading foreign goalscorer, as well as City's record scorer, has won five top-flight titles in Manchester.

Injuries have marred his final season, with the 32-year-old – who has reportedly agreed to join Barcelona – featuring for just 682 minutes across 18 appearances (eight starts) in all competitions.

Aguero faces a late fitness test to see if he will be able to play against Everton on Sunday, in City's final league game of the season, which will take place in front of 10,000 fans at the Etihad Stadium.

In Aguero's absence this term, and with understudy Gabriel Jesus not quite hitting the heights initially expected of him, Guardiola has often utilised a false nine system, with Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres and Kevin De Bruyne called upon to fill in up top.

It has served City well, Guardiola's team reclaiming the league title, winning their fourth straight EFL Cup and reaching their first Champions League final.

However, links to a new striker have not gone away, with Borussia Dortmund's in-demand forward Erling Haaland a mooted target, though Kane's recent comments about the possibility of leaving Tottenham will not have gone unnoticed. 

Kane added further fuel to the fire when, in an interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap, he declared his admiration for De Bruyne, labelling the Belgian playmaker a "striker's dream".

Pressed on possibly targetting a striker of Kane's ilk, Guardiola told a news conference: "I would love to have a guy who scores 50 goals.

"I would love it – but at the same I don't like just to have all the pressure on one player. Even at Barcelona Lionel Messi scored more than 50 goals every season, but in that team for example, in our first season Samuel Eto'o scored a lot.

"To win titles, especially the Premier League, the statistics speak for themselves, you need at least three guys [scoring] more than 10, 12, 15 goals to be competitors. But when you have a guy who scores 25 or 30, it helps a lot.

"We will try due to the way we play to have everybody involved in scoring goals – the more players we have with this quality the better we will be."

HOW HAVE CITY'S GOALS COME IN 2020-21?

With Aguero only managing four goals in all competitions – and just two from open play – the onus has been on other players to step up.

The standout in this regard has been Ilkay Gundogan, who has transformed himself into a superb attacking midfielder this term, scoring a team-high 17 times across all competitions, with the German averaging a goal every 194 minutes.

De Bruyne has tallied the most attempts (104), scoring nine goals and teeing up a further 17, while Riyad Mahrez is tied on 14 goals with Raheem Sterling.

Foden has netted 15 goals, all of which have come from open play. Torres and Jesus have both contributed 13, with John Stones and Bernardo Silva (both five) also chipping in with their fair share.

THE FINAL FAREWELL

It will no doubt be an emotional day for Aguero on Sunday, though he can take solace in the fact that there will be supporters on hand to wish him well.

"My message to the fans is: 'Thank you,'" Aguero wrote in a statement on the club's offciial website. "Thank you to the City fans for always supporting me.

"When you feel the love from your fans, everything is a lot easier. It's the same for anyone in any line of work – when someone believes in you, you do better. I owe a lot to the people at this club because I have the City fans to thank for everything.

"We have won a lot of games. I leave here feeling very satisfied with what I have achieved here. In the last games, I will do my best so that I can leave on a high.

"I want all the fans who saw me play in the stadium to remember me for what they saw me do on the pitch. I always say that you enjoy yourself on the pitch because of the support of the fans."

Related items

  • Eriksen vows he 'won't give up' as he looks to 'understand' what caused cardiac arrest Eriksen vows he 'won't give up' as he looks to 'understand' what caused cardiac arrest

    Christian Eriksen has thanked those who assisted him after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch against Finland on Saturday and now wants to "understand what happened".

    Inter midfielder Eriksen collapsed in the first half of the Euro 2020 match in Copenhagen with no other player around him.

    He was given CPR by medics and the fixture was originally suspended, but once Eriksen was confirmed to be "awake" the game resumed just under two hours later, Finland going on to win 1-0.

    The Danish Football Union (DBU) provided an update on Sunday, confirming that he had suffered a cardiac arrest but his condition was stable pending further examinations.

    Team doctor Morten Boesen detailed how he could initially feel a pulse when he arrived at Eriksen's side, but that "suddenly changed" and meant CPR was necessary.

    The medical team and Denmark captain Simon Kjaer were widely praised for their respective roles, with the centre-back quickly placing Eriksen in the recovery position.

    And, speaking through his agent to Gazzetta dello Sport, Eriksen relayed a brief message of thanks as he now sets about learning why it happened.

    He said: "Thank you, I won't give up. I feel better now, but I want to understand what happened. I want to say thank you all for what you did for me."

    Denmark are next due to be in action on Thursday against Belgium.

  • Rumour Has It: Barca want De Ligt and Leicester eye Coutinho as Man Utd hold further Sancho talks Rumour Has It: Barca want De Ligt and Leicester eye Coutinho as Man Utd hold further Sancho talks

    Could Matthijs de Ligt leave Juventus?

    De Ligt joined Juve from Ajax in 2019 but his future has been a topic of discussion.

    Barcelona were strongly linked with him before he left the Eredivisie and are reportedly still keen admirers.

     

    TOP STORY – DE LIGT A BARCA TARGET

    Barcelona are keen on signing Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Le10 Sport.

    LaLiga giants Barca have already brought in Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, while they are also said to be interested in Memphis Depay of Lyon and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

    But it is claimed they are particularly eager to further bolster their defence in addition to Garcia's arrival, though they could face competition for De Ligt – Manchester United have long been linked with the Netherlands international.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Mundo Deportivo reports Leicester City are considering a move for Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho. It would be a reunion for Brendan Rodgers and Coutinho after working together at Liverpool.

    Atletico Madrid are eyeing Hakan Calhanoglu as an alternative to Udinese star Rodrigo de Paul. LaLiga champions Atletico want De Paul, who has also been linked with JuveInter and Leeds United. Should they miss out on the Argentina international, Calhanoglu is an option – the Milan star's contract expires at the end of June.

    United have held further talks with Borussia Dortmund in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, says Fabrizio Romano. Dortmund reportedly want £81million (€95m), though United are currently unwilling to pay more than £60m (€70m). Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked previously.

    - Romano also reports Gianluigi Donnarumma's contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2026 has been agreed. The Italy international goalkeeper is set to join PSG on a free transfer following the end of his Milan deal.

    - According to Corriere dello Sport, Milan are in talks to sign Real Madrid pair Brahim Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola on loan. The Rossoneri have also been linked with Luka Jovic and are seemingly poised to secure the permanent signing of Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea as well.

  • Blue Jays crush eight homers in 18-4 rout of Red Sox, Tatis' grand slam lifts Padres Blue Jays crush eight homers in 18-4 rout of Red Sox, Tatis' grand slam lifts Padres

    The Toronto Blue Jays produced an offensive avalanche as they humbled American League (AL) East rivals the Boston Red Sox 18-4.

    Toronto lit up Boston with eight homers on 20 hits in Sunday's devastating MLB victory at Fenway Park.

    Teoscar Hernandez hit a pair of three-run homers, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Cavan Biggio, Rowdy Tellez and Marcus Semien also went deep.

    It was a devastating display as the Blue Jays pounded the Red Sox, who allowed the most home runs in their history on home soil.

    Bichette became the third player in Blue Jays history with a four-hit, five-run game as Guerrero continued his stellar season – the Toronto star now leads in MLB in home runs, RBI, OBP, SLG, OPS and total bases.

     

    Slam Diego!

    The San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets 7-3 thanks to Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the seventh inning to help snap a four-game skid. Padres team-mate Manny Machado followed with a home run.

    Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Texas Rangers 5-3. Buehler allowed just five hits to remain unbeaten since 2019. The Dodgers ace has now recorded a loss in 22 consecutive starts, the second longest streak in franchise history – behind Kirby Higbe's 23 straight starts.

    Craig Kimbrel closed out the Chicago Cubs' 2-0 win over the St Louis Cardinals. The Cubs completed a three-game sweep for their fifth consecutive victory to move level atop the National League (NL) Central. Kimbrel struck out three in the ninth inning. In each of his last seven appearances, he has posted a save without allowing a hit. According to Stats Perform, it is the third time in Kimbrel's career he has achieved the feat in seven-plus consecutive games. No other pitcher has had more than one such streak since saves became an official stat in 1969.

     

    Yankees reeling after latest loss

    The slumping New York Yankees were shut out 7-0 by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees have now lost seven of nine games and 13 of 18.

     

    Randy slam

    Randy Arozarena hit his first career grand slam in the Tampa Bay Rays' 7-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles. Arozarena homered in the seventh inning.

     

     

    Sunday's results

    Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 New York Yankees
    Washington Nationals 5-0 San Francisco Giants
    Atlanta Braves 6-4 Miami Marlins
    Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 Baltimore Orioles
    Chicago White Sox 4-1 Detroit Tigers
    Cincinnati Reds 6-2 Colorado Rockies
    San Diego Padres 7-3 New York Mets
    Seattle Mariners 6-2 Cleveland Indians
    Toronto Blue Jays 18-4 Boston Red Sox
    Houston Astros 14-3 Minnesota Twins
    Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
    Oakland Athletics 6-3 Kansas City Royals
    Los Angeles Angels 10-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
    Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 Texas Rangers
    Chicago Cubs 2-0 St Louis Cardinals

     

    Rays at White Sox

    It will be a blockbuster showdown as the two best teams in the AL clash on Monday. AL East pacesetters the Rays (42-24), who own the best record in the American League, travel to Central leaders the White Sox (41-24). Tyler Glasnow takes to the mound for Tampa Bay, while the White Sox counter with Lance Lynn.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.