Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ruled out a move for Sergio Aguero due to the soon-to-be free agent's long association with fierce rivals Manchester City.

City confirmed on Monday that Aguero is to bring an end to his decade-long spell at the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

He will bow out as City's all-time leading scorer, with a current tally of 257 goals in 385 games, the most recent of those appearances coming against Leicester City on Saturday.

The 32-year-old has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five EFL Cups, a tally he can add to before leaving as City remain on course for a quadruple this term, including a first Champions League triumph.

But despite the Premier League's fourth-highest ever goalscorer being available on a free transfer, Solskjaer does not expect Aguero to join one of the Citizens' domestic rivals.

"When I played for Man Utd, if a rival club would try to sign me and I'd gone to a rival club, where's the loyalty?" Solskjaer said.

"Of course, loyalty is one of the values I rank highly. So I wouldn't expect any player who had played for a club for 10 years to want to go to a local rival.

"I know we're professional but when you play for Man Utd, you don't go to Man City."

Peter Schmeichel, Andrew Cole and Carlos Tevez are previous high-profile examples of players to have moved between neighbours United and City during the Premier League era.

In an apparent swipe at some of his former team-mates, Solskjaer criticised those who show a lack of loyalty to their clubs by crossing the divide.

"We've had examples of that and I didn't really agree to those moves, to put it that way. I don't want to name names, but you all know who I point my finger at. Enough said," Solskjaer added.

Cole is one of three players to have scored more goals than Aguero in Premier League history with 187, along with Wayne Rooney (208) and Alan Shearer (260).

Aguero, a £38million signing from Atletico Madrid in July 2011, has scored 181 goals in the English top flight in 272 appearances - a goal every 108.69 minutes.

Among forwards currently at United, Edinson Cavani boasts the best goals-per-game return in the competition with one every 153.5 minutes, albeit having played just 18 games.

Anthony Martial is next on the list, scoring 55 Premier League goals in 167 matches (209.44), followed by Marcus Rashford (221.62) and Mason Greenwood (247.45).

Can Borussia Dortmund keep a hold of Erling Haaland for another season?

Europe's elite are queuing up to sign the Norway sensation.

Dortmund's disappointing season could be about to force their hand.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND TRYING TO RETAIN HAALAND

Borussia Dortmund will try to keep Erling Haaland for another season but their hopes are fading amid the club's struggles to finish in the Bundesliga's top four, according to Fabrizio Romano.

As it stands, Dortmund are set to miss out on Champions League qualification, with the German side fifth and seven points adrift of fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt following Saturday's loss.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror reports United are set to part with star goalkeeper David de Gea. The Red Devils are reportedly prepared to pay a large chunk of De Gea's remaining contract, with Dean Henderson pushing to become the club's first choice.

Haaland is ahead of Lionel Messi on City's transfer list, claims The Mirror. Pep Guardiola's City have been heavily linked with Barcelona superstar Messi, who is out of contract at season's end. But City now appear determined to prise Haaland from Dortmund as Sergio Aguero prepares to leave. Aguero has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, InterBarca, PSG and Juventus on a free transfer.

Neymar has put contract talks with PSG on hold, according to Ara, which claims he is willing to return to Barca.

- It comes as Marca says PSG are eyeing Madrid forward Vinicius Junior amid Kylian Mbappe's links with the LaLiga champions.

Pep Guardiola lauded Kevin De Bruyne's masterful midfield display during Manchester City's 2-0 win over Leicester City.

The Premier League leaders took another step towards glory thanks to second-half goals from Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus that only told part of the story of their dominance at the King Power Stadium.

De Bruyne rattled the crossbar with a free-kick midway through the first half and was named man of the match after a majestic throughball scattered Leicester's defence for Jesus' game-sealing effort 16 minutes from time.

"Quite good, huh? It's not the first time he has done it," Guardiola said reacting to that contribution during his post-match news conference.

"Next game he has to score a goal. Next game he is going to do the passes and score a goal.

"Kevin, in this situation, is extraordinary."

De Bruyne also recovered possession 14 times, more than any other City player and won 10 of his 18 duels.

"This is one of our identities. When the most talented players in the world are able to do this kind of job," Guardiola said of the playmaker's selfless contribution.

"There is no negotiation on this. You can play really badly but in terms of running and pressing for your team-mates until the end, we have to do it.

"Do it for your mates, because in the next action your mates are going to do it for you.

"We cannot deny that in the five years we were together the players we had run and fight every single game. That is one of the things I am proud of the most."

This sense of togetherness was underlined by the celebrations that followed Mendy's opener – a strike that appeared to particularly popular throughout the City squad.

"Benjamin is especially beloved by all of us, especially by his team-mates," Guardiola added.

"He is a special person, the way he lives. He has an incredible heart. When a player is honest like he is, the people love him so much.

"He didn't play much lately, today he played and made an incredible goal. The manager must be so good for him to score a goal with his right foot – oh my God!"

Kevin De Bruyne felt Manchester City deserved even more than a 2-0 victory from their dominant display at Leicester City.

The 18-point gulf between Pep Guardiola's champions-elect and the third-placed Foxes was in evidence for large stretches of the game at the King Power Stadium, where De Bruyne was named man of the match.

The Belgium playmaker struck the crossbar with a first-half free-kick but Pep Guardiola's men had to wait until the 58th minute to find a breakthrough – left-back Benjamin Mendy the unlikely goalscorer.

Gabriel Jesus netted for the fifth time in six outings against Leicester to seal the points, the Brazil forward the beneficiary of Raheem Sterling's unselfishness and a majestic De Bruyne throughball.

"I thought it was really good. The first half we totally dominated," De Bruyne told Sky Sports.

"They had the one chance that was offside with [Jamie] Vardy, but basically there was one team playing.

"Second half, Leicester did a little bit better but, if you look at the 90 minutes, it was 2-0 and I think we deserved even more goals.

"After an international break, that's really well done from the team."

Ex-England striker Vardy rolling into the net when he was flagged offside during first-half stoppage time showed how some profligate finishing might have undermined the Premier League leaders' smooth control of proceedings, but De Bruyne insisted they remained calm.

"We created chances, we should have scored but that happens," he said.

"We knew the way they play against us was going to be really difficult. They play really defensive.

"We had to be patient and that what we did. I was very happy for Mendy then to break the deadlock."

Guardiola's side were thrashed 5-2 by Leicester back in September, with this sharply contrasting performance demonstrating the strides made since.

"That was a bad game from us and they deserved to win but that was such a long time ago," De Bruyne added, with Borussia Dortmund up next in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"We've picked it up during the season and done well, so I'm really happy.

"In the end I'm here to provide for the team and if I can set my team-mates up and they finish it I'm happy.

"It's one win more and it's good to get in the rhythm because Tuesday is another game."

Benjamin Mendy was an unlikely goalscorer as Manchester City took another step towards the Premier League title with an authoritative 2-0 victory at Leicester City.

Pep Guardiola's side were dominant for long periods, Kevin De Bruyne hitting the crossbar, but had to wait until the 58th minute for left-back Mendy to find the breakthrough.

Both teams had seen goals ruled out for offside by that point, with Jamie Vardy frustrated in first-half stoppage time, although nothing approaching a repeat of Leicester's 5-2 early season triumph at the Etihad Stadium ever appeared to be on the cards.

A majestic De Bruyne throughball allowed substitute Raheem Sterling to tee up Gabriel Jesus for a game-sealing goal that put the leaders 17 points clear of Manchester United, albeit having played two games more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men.

Manchester City captain Fernandinho drilled a 25-yard drive into the bottom corner but his fifth-minute effort was ruled out because Sergio Aguero jumped over the shot in an offside position.

De Bruyne went closer for the visitors, rattling the bar with a 23rd-minute free-kick, before Kasper Schmeichel saved with his boot to thwart former team-mate Riyad Mahrez and Jesus thrashed over before half-time.

Leicester's first shot belatedly arrived in the 48th minute, when Youri Tielemans treated Ederson to a routine stop.

Ruben Dias slid in to make a telling block from the Belgium midfielder moments later after Kelechi Iheanacho picked Fernandinho's pocket.

Mahrez stung Schmeichel's palms before the hour and Leicester failed to clear the danger – possession falling to Mendy, who stepped inside Marc Albrighton and slotted home right footed.

Sterling and Jesus threatened to undo De Bruyne's imperious work 16 minutes from time but held their nerve to seal victory as blue shirts darted back towards the goalmouth in vain.

Mahrez trudged off having come agonisingly close to scoring against his former employers, clipping a shot just wide after Jesus mugged a flagging Jonny Evans.

Sergio Aguero will start Manchester City's Premier League match at Leicester City after announcing this week he will end a 10-year association with the club at the end of this season.

Aguero, who joined City from Atletico Madrid for £38million in July 2011, is out of contract in June and a campaign beset by fitness problems on the back of meniscus surgery has led to a parting of ways being confirmed.

Nevertheless, the club's all-time record goalscorer still has time to embellish a glorious decade in English football as Pep Guardiola's league leaders hold an interest in four competitions.

Perhaps casting an eye towards Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Borussia Dortmund, Guardiola has made six changes to the City XI that booked an FA Cup semi-final spot through a 2-0 win over Everton last time out, with Benjamin Mendy among the starters.

Club captain Fernandinho is partnered in defensive midfield by Rodri, lending a robust look to a line-up seeking to avenge a 5-2 defeat at the Etihad Stadium back in September.

Former City forward Kelechi Iheanacho starts for the Foxes after penning a three-year contract extension.

Iheanacho is on a hot streak of seven goals in four games and was named Premier League player of the month for March.

Vardy, by contrast, is seeking to end an eight-game goal drought but netted a hat-trick in the win over Guardiola's men earlier this season – a result that made City's current 14-point advantage at the top of the Premier League impossible to envisage.

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City may not be able to afford a replacement for striker Sergio Aguero.

City confirmed on Monday their all-time leading goalscorer will bring down the curtain on a trophy-laden decade-long spell at the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires in June.

Aguero has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five EFL Cups, a tally he can add to before departing as City are on course for a quadruple this season, including a first Champions League triumph.

City have been tipped to spend big on a new striker at the end of the season, with Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane rumoured to be on their radar.

However, Guardiola insists the Premier League leaders are not in a position to complete such a signing due to the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"With these prices we are not going to buy any striker. It is impossible, we cannot afford it," the Catalan coach said during a news conference on Friday. 

"All clubs struggle financially, we are not an exception. We have Gabriel [Jesus], Ferran [Torres], young academy players, false nines. I don't know what will happen. 

"Today there is more of a big chance we won't sign a new striker for next season."

Aguero has scored 257 goals in 384 appearances for City since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, seeing him surpass Eric Brook as the club's all-time record goalscorer.

Guardiola accepts the Argentina international will be a huge loss but is confident he already has the personnel to help fill the void.

"We know how important he is in the present and past. These decisions are never easy," Guardiola said.

"I want to be clear: Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club it is impossible.

"We have enough players in the first team, interesting players in the academy. But with the economy the way it is we're not going to sign a new striker this summer."

Aguero is in contention to start Saturday's clash with third-placed Leicester City, who have in-form ex-Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho leading their line.

Iheanacho spent one season playing under Guardiola before joining Leicester in August 2017 and has scored 15 goals in 87 Premier League appearances for the Foxes.

That does not tell the whole story, however, as the Nigeria international has scored five goals in his last three league games, making this his best goalscoring season since his maiden campaign with Manchester City.

Guardiola has been impressed by Iheanacho's recent form, which also includes two goals against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals two weeks ago, and expects a tough match against Brendan Rodgers' high-flying side.

"He's been incredible. The quality was always there as a young player," Guardiola said. "We had Gabriel and Sergio so there we not much space in the squad. 

"He's a fantastic person. We had a good relationship together. I'm delighted he's playing well. He links well with others, he is fast and is also very clear in front of goal."

He added: "I have to admit, since Brendan took over they've been incredible. I remember he took over and after a week, 10 days, wow, he changed them completely from the previous manager. 

"They had an incredible chance to qualifying for the Champions League last season, didn't do it, but they are there again this season. The last 5-10 years they have worked really well on scouting and are a contender every season. 

"They have a top manager, top players. It is a big challenge for us tomorrow."

Guardiola is still unsure on the availability of up to eight of his international players for Saturday's match due to coronavirus restrictions delaying their return to training.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has heavily rotated his side between games of late and intends to continue doing so, with a Champions League quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund to come on Tuesday.

"We rotate well because we work well when we do that," he said. "When I rotate and we lose you tell me it's disastrous - why rotate? In the modern day, no player can sustain mentally or physically playing every three days. 

"Tomorrow I'll select a team to win that game. I'm sure Man United and Leicester can win a lot of games. Everything in football can happen. 

"We need four victories to be champions and tomorrow is our first chance to win another game. Then when on the coach after the game I'll think about Dortmund."

The leaders have alternated between defeat (two) and victory (two) in their last four Premier League away games against Leicester, winning this fixture 1-0 last season.

Guardiola's side were beaten 5-2 in September's reverse match and Leicester are looking to complete their first league double over Manchester City since the 1986-87 season.

Thomas Tuchel accepted there is a "race" for Erling Haaland and talked up the "world-class" talents of Sergio Aguero but was reticent to talk about Chelsea's reported interest in the star duo.

Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland is a man in demand in the close-season transfer window, with his father Alf Inge and representative Mino Raiola said to have met with both Barcelona and Real Madrid this week.

Talks are also said to be taking place with the Blues, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, with Haaland – who has 49 goals in as many games for Dortmund – seemingly set for a new venture.

Chelsea boss Tuchel was asked about their own pursuit at a pre-match conference for Chelsea's Premier League clash against West Brom this weekend.

"I will not answer that out of respect for the player and Borussia Dortmund," Tuchel said. 

"There is big news around him and his agent. It seems like they are creating a race for the player and I will fully accept he is a player for Borussia Dortmund, a promising player of course.

"But he isn't our player and is not in our squad. So, we will not comment on anything else regarding Haaland."

A new striker is thought to be high on Chelsea's list of priorities and City legend Aguero has also been linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge.

Aguero will depart the Etihad Stadium at the end of the campaign, after a decade of service during which time he has become the club's all-time leading scorer.

"You can ask but it's the same answer as Haaland. We have full respect for Manchester City and Sergio Aguero, who is a big player for them," Tuchel added.

"There is no words needed for me about the achievements of this guy, he is a world-class player.

"But we have three competitions in which we are in with Manchester City so I will not speak about their player."

Chelsea's links to strikers comes amid a poor run of goalscoring form from Timo Werner, a big-money recruit from RB Leipzig.

Werner has just five Premier League goals this term, while he has not scored since the 2-0 win over Newcastle United on February 15.

His woes were highlighted by a poor miss in Germany's shock 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia this week but Tuchel insists Werner is still contributing to the Blues' cause.

"It was a bad pass from Ilkay Gundogan is how I see it! I'm only joking. He missed that chance and everybody is passionate to talk about it, which is a bit annoying," Tuchel said.

"It's easy at the moment to point the finger at Timo, which I can't understand. I am happy he is back here.

"To look at it honestly, he is in a moment where he lacks confidence and things aren't too easy. The goals are not working out as usual but he works out for us.

"He still scores for us, still assists for us, still wins penalties. If this is the most critical point of his career you can say it's still pretty impressive so far.

"Timo has scored since he was five years old and he never stopped. So he can trust his brain and body, it will come back. That's easier said than done.

"Yesterday I sent him in from training because he wanted to do extra finishing with us. But I sent him in because it will come. The goals will come.

"Of course, he needs to do something and the best thing to do is to work hard. Work hard against the ball, make runs, don't hesitate, be fearless, don't overthink it.

"That's easy for me to say but it's the challenge right now. Timo will start tomorrow and there we go."

While Werner will be involved, influential midfielder N'Golo Kante is out after injuring his hamstring while away with France.

Tuchel also expects Kante to sit out Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Porto, in which they are the designated away side for a match taking place in Seville.

"Yes, probably [he will miss Porto]," Tuchel said. "He is doing individual training. He can't be with the squad.

"Then we have just three days to prepare. We have a muscle injury, as we communicated with the national team. So my realistic approach is to think about Porto, maybe the second game against Porto."

Sergio Aguero's next destination is a hot topic of conversation after Manchester City confirmed he will leave at the end of the season.

The Argentina forward has been linked with a host of clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 32-year-old has spent the past decade in England with City.

 

TOP STORY - BLUES IN BOX SEAT FOR AGUERO

Chelsea have moved into pole position to land Aguero, who wants to remain in England according to the Daily Mail.

The Blues, who wanted to sign Aguero in 2011 when he left Atletico Madrid for City, will be in the market for a forward with rumours about Timo Werner's future after an underwhelming debut season at Stamford Bridge.

Portuguese publication Record claims Benfica are also interested in Aguero, while The Sun has added Arsenal and his former club Independiente to the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- Lyon's Netherlands international Memphis Depay has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, but Marca claims Liverpool could 'muscle in' for the soon-to-be free agent.

- Le Parisien reports that Paris Saint-Germain are in a hurry to get Kylian Mbappe to commit to a new contract amid speculation linking him with a move away, including to Real Madrid.

- L’Equipe claims that Arkadiusz Milik has a €12million buyout clause in his Marseille loan contract from Napoli and Juventus are preparing an offer to swoop for him.

Sheffield United midfielder Ismaila Coulibaly has attracted interest from AC Milan and Galatasaray but the Blades want to keep him, according to Yorkshire Live.

Sergio Aguero has been one of the "three main faces" at Manchester City, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who did not rule out a move for the striker.

Aguero's City career will come to an end at the culmination of the 2020-21 campaign, halting a 10-year stay at the club.

In that time, Aguero has helped City to four Premier League titles – scoring the goal which secured their first in the most dramatic of circumstances in 2011-12 – along with one FA Cup, five EFL Cups and two Community Shield triumphs.

The 32-year-old has struggled with injuries and COVID-19 this term, however, making just 14 appearances across all competitions, scoring three goals.

Arteta, Pep Guardiola's former assistant, worked with Aguero for over three years between 2016 and 2019, and has hailed the Argentinian's impact at City.

"Anybody that's been close to him would say the same thing, he's been the main face or one of three main faces to lift that project [at City]," Arteta told a news conference ahead of Arsenal's clash with Liverpool on Saturday.

"You need quality to create moments to build a project and his is the biggest face.

"Not only the way he plays, but his charisma and character. It's sad for him to leave but I think what he's done he will be their history."

Though denying he had called Aguero to discuss a potential switch to the Gunners, Arteta did not dismiss the suggestions of a move to bring the forward to north London.

"No, we will see what happens to him in the future," Arteta said.

"Sergio has a unique quality to see spaces that nobody sees and score goals in an easy way so I'm sure he will find the right next chapter."

One striker who has been linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium is Alexandre Lacazette, with the Frenchman's contract up in 2022.

LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid are among the teams previously mooted to hold an interest in the 29-year-old, who has netted 13 goals in all competitions this season, scoring on each of his last three Premier League starts.

It seems likely Lacazette will lead the line again on Saturday, given he has scored in each of Arsenal's two most recent league games against Liverpool – the last Gunners player to score in three consecutive top-fllight games against the Reds was Robert Pires between 2003 and 2004 – and Arteta says the club will hold talks over a new deal at the end of the season.

|I'm always happy when people talk about our players and speculate – that means they're doing well and getting attention from other clubs," Arteta said.

"The situation with Laca we will address in the summer and speak to him and just propose the future that we want, and that's it.

"Up to now I just want players focused and only focused on performing and getting the best out of them for the team."

 

AGUERO OR LACAZETTE?

Should Arsenal decide to make a move for Aguero, then it may well be Lacazette who makes way, but would that be a wise move?

Lacazette is almost three years younger than Aguero, who has been besieged by injuries in recent seasons.

Since joining Arsenal at the start of 2017-18, Lacazette has made 122 Premier League appearances – 32 more than Aguero in the same timeframe.

The former Lyon forward has played a total of 8,219 minutes, compared to a figure of 6,214 for Aguero, who has started 75 games, 19 fewer than Lacazette (94).

However, Aguero has still scored more league goals, tallying 59 in contrast to Lacazette's 48, though it must be noted City's team of 2017 through to 2019 is widely considered as one of the finest attacking units of the Premier League era.

Lacazette has proved to be more creative, crafting 111 chances – 15 more than Aguero – though the duo are practically neck-and-neck for assists, registering 18 and 17 respectively.

Aguero's big chance conversion rate is better than Lacazette. The Argentina international has scored 42 goals from 78 opportunities from which Opta would have expected him to find the net (53.85 per cent); Lacazette, in comparison, has scored 30 from 70 (42.86 per cent).

Lionel Messi has been tipped to leave Barcelona for either Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

But Haaland could reportedly unlock Messi's future.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND TO CITY MEANS BARCA STAY FOR MESSI?

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could hold the key to Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Barca, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

City have been tipped to sign Messi, but should they step up their pursuit of Haaland, the Premier League leaders could reportedly drop their interest in the Barca captain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says new Barca president Joan Laporta is preparing a contract renewal for Messi, who is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- Bayern Munich are eyeing a move for Tottenham star Son Heung-min, claims Football Insider. Son has reportedly been offered a bumper new contract by Spurs, but the former Bayer Leverkusen forward is wanted in Munich.

- Sporting CP's Joao Palhinha, Borussia Monchengladbach star Denis Zakaria and Sander Berge of Sheffield United are on the list of midfielders to replace City veteran Fernandinho, reports A Bola.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Juventus and Barca are interested in Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. The Italy defender is out of contract in 2022 and is reportedly seeking a €6million-a-year contract.

Napoli are eyeing Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi and sporting director Igli Tare, claims Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. Gennaro Gattuso has been tipped to leave Napoli at the end of the season, with ex-Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri, Luciano Spalletti and Hellas Verona's Ivan Juric among the possible replacements. But Lazio duo Inzaghi and Tare are being monitored to replace Gattuso and Cristiano Giuntoli in Naples.

United are interested in Lille defender Sven Botman, according to Fabrizio Romano. Sevilla star Jules Kounde has been on United's radar but the club's asking price of €80m (£68m) is too steep.

- Romano also says there is no agreement with United and Paul Pogba over a new contract. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve, Madrid and PSG.

Barcelona target Sergio Aguero still has much to offer at the highest level, according to former Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Aguero and City announced this week that the 32-year-old will be leaving at the end of the season after 10 glorious years.

The striker is out of contract at the end of a 2020-21 campaign City hope can end with a famous quadruple.

Barcelona have long been linked with a move to Aguero and are seen as favourites for his signature.

A switch to play in MLS has also been mooted but Wright-Phillips thinks it would be too soon for the Argentina star to make that step.

"For me, it would definitely be a bigger club [than one in MLS] - I don't think he'll go to the States just yet," Wright-Phillips told Stats Perform News when asked about Aguero's future.

"One hundred per cent, if he stays fit he's got a lot more to give. He still looks powerful, he still looks hungry.

"The games that I've watched that he's come on, he's made some excellent runs, and they didn't really get him the ball in those positions. 

"He's still got a lot to give, and I think he enjoys it. I don't see him sailing off to America just yet.

"I think [his future] kind of depends on how this season goes. 

"He's still in with a chance to win a Champions League medal, which if anyone deserves it, especially as a City player, it should be him. 

"That would just finish his career perfectly as a City player to win everything."

Injuries have restricted Aguero to only five starts across all competitions this season, but he is hoping to play a key part in the run-in before departing.

City have been linked with the likes of Erling Haaland and Harry Kane to replace Aguero, with Gabriel Jesus being the other main striker still at the club.

Wright-Phillips added: "To be honest, I was surprised [about the announcement].

"But when you get to a player like that, and he's getting old in football terms, he has not played probably as much as he wanted because of injuries or another reason that could have happened. 

"In his head he's probably just thinking he wants to play football. In a way I could kind of see it happening, but I'm devastated about it at the same time.

"If you look at his stats in general. He's scored I think 181 goals in the Premier League for City. He's got 257 goals for City in total. So he's a record breaker and you're always going to miss somebody like that. 

"As a fan it's devastating, you want to keep those players until they retire, and be selfish and not let anybody have them. But it's football isn't it, and sadly it always comes to an end."

Wright-Phillips was asked where Aguero ranked among all-time Premier League strikers, a debate that has attracted a host of opinions since the announcement.

The former England international added: "If you go on the stats, I would possibly put him in the top five and that's hard. 

"There have been so many amazing and world-class players with elite talent who are in the record books we're talking about. 

"The goals that he's scored, the one that stands out, the one that people always talk about in the game against QPR. It had to be him that scored it. 

"He was most probably the only person that would have scored that goal. Everything just worked out perfectly. 

"There where seasons when he didn't play all that much, he was injured, but he was still in the race for the golden boot and that says a lot for a striker. 

"He very rarely had purple patches or going so many games without scoring, until like this season when he's played hardly anything."

Manchester City need a top number nine like Erling Haaland if they are to compete with the best teams in Europe, according to Shaun Wright-Phillips.

City and Sergio Aguero announced this week that the star striker will be leaving the club after 10 years when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Pep Guardiola's team are among many of the continent's leading sides who have been linked with a transfer pursuit of Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland.

Aguero has only made five City starts in all competitions this season due to injuries, so they have often deployed a false nine rather than a recognised striker like the Argentina forward or Gabriel Jesus.

Wright-Phillips – who had two spells with City totalling nine seasons – has been impressed by how City have adapted but feels a focal point is still needed in the biggest matches.

"They have to look for a direct replacement," Wright-Phillips told Stats Perform News.

"If you're going to have big team like that without a so-called number nine, it would be strange to a lot of people in the world. 

"You can play with a false nine against a lot of teams, but say you're playing Real Madrid – Sergio Ramos, he'll be happy not to have striker in front of him. 

"Then he can see everything, so there's certain teams in the world that know how to deal with that pretty easily. 

"To have a number nine up there, it gives them a headache, something to think about. And they have to be on their A-game all the time as well."

Haaland is the striker who stands out as the best pick to Wright-Phillips, with Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku among the others forwards to have been linked with City.

The 20-year-old has scored 21 goals in as many Bundesliga games this season and tops the Champions League scoring charts with 10 from six outings.

"For me if you are talking about going for someone, I think I would say Haaland," added Wright-Phillips.

"Not only obviously because of how well he's doing but because of his age as well. They've got him for a good 10 years if they choose to keep him or if he does well. 

"That would suit the City team better, in the respect that most of their players are under 27 or 28, apart from maybe Kevin De Bruyne. 

"There would be nothing wrong with the Haaland decision.

"People say the wages and stuff like that – everyone can see in football what can happen, which is pretty much anything, so I don't put any of that past them. 

"It could be any one of those strikers [Kane, Lukaku, Haaland] – City are going to create chances and you have seen their goalscoring records, they're going to take them the majority of the time."

Manchester City will turn to Harry Kane if they cannot land Erling Haaland.

It is widely expected City will go hard to sign the Norway striker, who is being pursued by numerous big clubs.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea are all interested in the Borussia Dortmund man.

 

TOP STORY - KANE IN CITY'S SIGHTS

The Times reports that if City fail to win the race for Haaland's signature they will consider making an offer for Tottenham talisman Kane.

Kane is seven years older than Haaland but has a proven Premier League goal scoring record.

City have already confirmed Sergio Aguero's exit at the end of the season and are in the market to bolster their forward ranks.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail is reporting that City's main priorities in the transfer market are to sign Haaland and Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish, as they turn to a younger generation of talent. The duo are expected to cost £200 million.

- Football Insider has reported Lionel Messi has requested FC Barcelona sign countryman Aguero as part of his own negotiations to stay with the Catalans. Mundo Deportivo claims Aguero is not a priority signing for Barca, with Memphis Depay, Romelu Lukaku and Haaland top of the list.

- Gianluigi Donnarumma has been linked with a host of big clubs and Sky Sport Italia are reporting that contract talks with AC Milan are at a standstill. Milan are allegedly offering €7million per-year deal but the goalkeeper wants more.

- Voetbalkrant are reporting Southampton are interested in Anderlecht's teenage defender Marco Kana.

- Ex-Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin coach Lucien Favre is interested in becoming Celtic's new coach, according to the Daily Mail.

- Fichajes reports Leeds United's Rodrigo is unhappy in England and wants to return to Spain, with Real Betis and Sevilla in the mix.

Erling Haaland would provide "long-term value" for Manchester City even if the club have to splash the cash to sign him as a replacement for Sergio Aguero, says Richard Dunne.

City and Aguero confirmed on Monday that the Argentina striker will be leaving when his contract expires at the end of the season.

A glittering 10-year stint at City after signing from Atletico Madrid has seen him become the club's record goalscorer with 257 strikes to his name.

City were already being linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland before the Aguero announcement.

Haaland has been prolific since signing for Dortmund in January 2020 and reportedly has a €180million asking price with all of Europe's top clubs likely to pursue him in the transfer market.

Even though Haaland would be an expensive addition, Dunne – who was a City stalwart between 2000 and 2009 - thinks it is a move worth making.

"If you are looking for a number nine, someone who is going to get you goals and is going to be long-term value for money, I think Haaland is the one," Dunne said to Stats Perform News.

"He is still very young, he is obviously proven in his first club [Salzburg], and he has moved on to Dortmund.

"He has been amazing and has scored goals in the Champions League. He looks like a good bet in terms of who is going to be able to do it long term. 

"He's 21 this year, he's got plenty of years ahead of him. For me he seems the most exciting [potential Aguero replacement].

"It would be great to see him in the Premier League. You can see him fitting into that Man City team where his job is basically stand in the middle of the box and score goals. 

"City create so many chances and hopefully he'll be able to get the opportunity to score a handful." 

Dunne believes the upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie between Dortmund and City gives Haaland an opportunity to make a statement to Pep Guardiola, even though the Premier League side will already know everything about him.

He continued: "It is not so much an audition - Man City, there's a documentary on their scouting network and how they go about their things. 

"It's never about one game, they're going to know everything about Haaland if he signs. Same on any other striker. 

"But the opportunity to go and prove yourself, and show your potential new club, potential new manager what you can do, I'm sure for Haaland he'll feel like it's a great stage for him to go make a statement. 

"It's great that he scores goals in the Champions League, he's done it. I think the next objective is to score goals against big teams in later rounds of the Champions League. 

"This is a huge opportunity for him, and I'm sure Man City will have done their homework. They'll be praying to god that it's one of those nights that he doesn't have a good one and they can keep him quiet."

If City do not go down the route of a big-name signing, Dunne believes they are well prepared based on this season to get results without an established number nine, even if that is not an ideal scenario.

He expects to see enhanced roles for Gabriel Jesus and youngster Liam Delap in the future.

"I think Manchester City have sort of come up with a system that works for them without Aguero," said Dunne. 

"If Aguero was fit and available all the time, I'm sure he would have played, and Guardiola would have liked to have that number nine in the team. 

"So I'd imagine, he will probably look for a centre-forward. Someone so they have options, they can change things around. 

"Gabriel Jesus is still there. He's obviously going to take a bit more responsibility. In the youth team they have Liam Delap who is starting to break through. They have options within the club. 

"But whether they go and spend huge amounts of money on Haaland, or someone like that, I don't know. 

"They tend to be really good with their transfer business and a lot of stuff has been done under the radar and then they produce a star from nowhere. 

"I think they'll be happy enough with what's in the squad, add Ferran Torres to that as well, they've got enough."

City are 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League and are still in with a chance of winning the quadruple in Aguero's final season.

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