City chief slams talk of Aguero sale

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on October 29, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS /

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak insists reports that Sergio Aguero could be sold are ridiculous because the Argentine striker remains a key player for the Premier League club.

Aguero lost his place in Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up following the arrival of Brazilian starlet Gabriel Jesus in January.

The 28-year-old, who has scored 122 league goals in 181 appearances since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, returned to the team following an injury to Jesus and finished the season as City’s leading scorer.

That has not stopped rumours about his future, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid all linked with the star, but Khaldoon is adamant Aguero is too important to lose.

“I’ve read a lot about the speculation on this and it is ridiculous,” Khaldoon told City’s website on Tuesday.

“Sergio Aguero is one of the best players in the world and we are a team that aspires to win in every competition we compete in.

“Having Sergio Aguero as part of the squad is an absolute must and has never been a doubt.”

Khaldoon is hopeful Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure will be given a new contract as his present deal expires next month.

“Pep has a lot of trust in him and I hope Yaya will be with us and continue this journey with us,” he said.

Guardiola is planning a major overhaul of his squad and has already announced the departures of full-backs Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, winger Jesus Navas and goalkeeper Willy Caballero.

City have been linked with Tottenham’s Kyle Walker and Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy to fill their full-back positions.

“The manager is thinking about the squad every day and that thinking evolves throughout the year to get to a final point at the end of the season when decisions are made,” Khaldoon said.

“There are particular positions that are clear. With the players exiting, full-backs – both right and left – require investment from our side.

“Pep relies heavily on that position and a particular requirement in terms of the type of players he wants for the role.

“That clearly requires some work. Pep knows exactly what he wants and who he wants.”

Meanwhile, Benfica goalkeeper Ederson is reportedly due to arrive in Manchester as he closes in on a move to City.

City are still negotiating a settlement on the 23-year-old’s third-party ownership issues, but the club hope he will undergo a medical on Tuesday.

With Joe Hart, who spent the season on loan at Torino, set to be sold by City, and Claudio Bravo struggling in his first season at Eastlands, Ederson would arrive as Guardiola’s first choice goalkeeper.

He would become Guardiola’s second close-season signing after Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva joined on Friday.

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