Manchester City have started the process of replacing Sergio Aguero, with the Argentine expected to leave the club when his contract expires in 2020.
The 30-year-old joined City in 2011 in a £38million deal from Atletico Madrid and is the club’s top goalscorer with 204 goals to his name.
Despite some confusion over the length of Aguero’s deal, the Argentine has another two seasons to run on his deal at the Etihad.
Aguero will be 32 when his contract expires and will be allowed to leave for free as a goodwill gesture on the understanding that he will return to boyhood club Independiente.
The forward has stated on a number of occasions that he intends to return to his homeland to see out his career and confirmed in March that he wants to play for Independiente again.
‘My contract with Manchester City will expire in 2020, then I will return to my home at Independiente,’ said Aguero.
Aguero’s understanding with the club gives Guardiola a maximum of four transfer windows to find a replacement but Metro.co.uk understands the Spaniard wants Aguero’s successor in place by next summer.
According to the Metro, Guardiola feels central midfield is the only area of his squad in need of urgent attention and believes signing a striker next summer would benefit the new recruit as he’d have a season of learning from Aguero before his departure in 2020.
City were keen on signing Kylian Mbappe in 2017 but the Frenchman chose Paris Saint-Germain over a move to the Etihad and Txiki Begiristain will work alongside Guardiola in identifying the club’s next target.
The club believe Gabriel Jesus will develop into a ‘second striker’ and will instead target a forward with a greater presence in central areas.
Guardiola’s admiration of Tottenham striker Harry Kane is well known but the England captain is likely to cost around £200m and negotiations with Spurs would be difficult given he’s just signed a new long-term deal.
The fact that Guardiola is planning for Aguero’s departure in two years’ time speaks volumes of his happiness with the health of his City squad.
Aymeric Laporte was signed as a long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany last January, while Riyad Mahrez is seen as a potential successor to David Silva in attacking midfield.
Jorginho’s decision to join Chelsea was a blow and City will prioritise a move for a central midfielder in the next two windows.