Lionel Messi, Erling Braut Haaland and the seven strikers who could replace Sergio Aguero at Manchester City
Argentine forward will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season
Sergio Aguero's illustrious and prolific 10-year stay at Manchester City will come to an end at the end of the season after it was announced on Monday that the Argentine striker would not be offered a new contract.
Aguero will depart City as the club's all-time record goalscorer and one of the highest goalscorers in Premier League history. He will therefore leave sizeable shoes for City manager Pep Guardiola to fill.
With Gabriel Jesus the only senior striker remaining, City are expected to enter the transfer market to find Aguero's replacement. But who could that be? Here is a shortlist of strikers that could fit the bill.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Aguero's impending exit provides a new twist to City's reported pursuit of the Barcelona captain. Barca are, according to reports, favourites to sign Aguero, so would his arrival convince Messi to stay and extend his contract beyond this summer, or could that be a sign that the Catalans have identified his replacement? Only time will tell, but if City still have the chance to sign Messi, it would be a surprise if at least an approach is not made.
Messi would not exactly be a like-for-like replacement for Aguero, but City - or indeed any team - would surely be happy to make a few adjustments to accommodate the world's best player.
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
When asked to identify who they want as Aguero's successor, there are typically two names on the lips of City fans. Mbappe is one of them. The PSG star is one of the best forwards in world football, and at the age of 22, is only going to get better.
Mbappe is approaching the final year of his PSG contract, so a tempting offer this summer could bring the French champions to the negotiating table. If PSG and Mbappe do entertain offers, City will likely have to contend with rival interest from Real Madrid.
Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
The other striker at the top of City fans' wishlist. Haaland has established himself as one of the top centre-forwards in Europe during a meteoric rise since joining Dortmund 14 months ago.
Dortmund have always been aware that the 20-year-old Norwegian would be moving on after a relatively short, but highly profitable, spell and City would appear the ideal destination for Haaland to take his talents.
The City connection - his father Alf-Inge played for the club for three years - could work in their favour and Haaland would appear to be the closest to Aguero in terms of attributes. Again, Real Madrid are rumoured to also be interested, so City could face stiff competition for his signature.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
If there is one striker already in the Premier League who could fill the Aguero void at City, then it would be Spurs forward Kane.
The England captain has been a regular rival to the Argentine in the Golden Boot stakes over the years and it would be interesting to see if Kane would be interested in a move to City if an approach was made.
Kane has in the past said he would consider leaving Tottenham if he felt he couldn't challenge for major trophies and this week suggested he would assess his future at the end of the season. But would Tottenham even be willing to negotiate with a rival for a star player with three years still on his contract?
Danny Ings (Southampton)
In a shortlist of superstar names, Ings has been linked to the Etihad as a more reasonable and affordable alternative. Since moving to Southampton, Ings has been one of the most reliable goalscorers in the Premier League, so City would know exactly what they would be getting from the 28-year-old England international.
Ings is perhaps not the glamorous name City fans might hope for as a successor to their greatest ever striker, but he would bring goals.
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Martinez has been a long-term target for Barcelona, but with the Spanish giants struggling financially and reportedly interested in Aguero, Inter Milan's Argentine forward would fit the profile for City's next striker.
Martinez, 23, has been instrumental to Inter's Serie A title charge this season and with his pace, movement off the ball and intelligence, would fit the mould of a Guardiola forward.
Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Silva is enjoying another prolific campaign for Frankfurt, with only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski ahead of the Portuguese striker in the Bundesliga's goalscoring charts this season.
In fact, aside from a disappointing season in 2017/18 for a struggling AC Milan side, Silva has been a regular goalscorer throughout his career. Even in that campaign, he still scored eight goals in 14 European games, while he averages nearly a goal every other game for his national team.
At 25, Silva is approaching the prime years of his career and would represent a cheaper option to the likes of Haaland and Mbappe, both in terms of transfer fees and wage demands.
Published: March 31, 2021 01:36 PM