Sergio Aguero: Is Manchester City free agent really what Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona needed this summer?
If Barcelona were planning to cause a sensation by announcing the signing of Sergio Aguero, they were upset by Pep Guardiola who confirmed more than a week ago that the Argentine was on his way to Camp Nou. And by anyone who disclosed prematurely on the club’s own site that Aguero would be featured as a Barca player on Monday night.
Indeed, Aguero’s move to Barcelona had become European football’s worst-kept secret. It was a signing of weeks, if not months, in the works and so there was no element of surprise by the time the confirmation arrived. However, a reflection on what Aguero’s signing means for Barca is still needed.
Considering Barcelona were so keen on getting rid of an aging striker suffering from injuries just 12 months ago, it is somewhat disconcerting that they have now signed another in his place. Of course, Luis Suarez pointed out Barca’s mistake in sending Atletico Madrid back to the Spanish title, but there was at least strategic logic behind letting him lower the team’s average age.
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The signing of a 32-year-old Aguero on a two-year contract hints at a lack of leadership at the boardroom level. Do Barcelona really know what they want their team to look like in a few years? Is there this level of foresight applied to this summer’s recruiting plan? Or is it all about recruiting high-profile players at low prices to appease the fans?
In many ways, Aguero will be a perfect fit for Barcelona. The Argentinian is technically adept at possession and has that wriggling quality that Luis Suarez has – even when he looks like he’s been kicked off the ball he somehow finds a way to keep it and get a shot. A few years ago, Aguero would have been the perfect Barca striker.
It could still turn out to be a good addition. Look at the impact Edinson Cavani has had at Manchester United amid concerns about his age and fitness level. With the right conditioning and the right management of the men, Aguero could enjoy a successful final phase of his Camp Nou career.
It is certainly true that Barcelona need a natural finisher in the penalty box. Antoine Griezmann has just had his best Camp Nou season yet, but the Frenchman is not a true number nine. Martin Braithwaite has contributed, but he’s little more than a rotation option. The Dane is simply not good enough to be Barca’s premier center-forward.
Aguero will remedy this shortcoming, but his signing will only give Barcelona a boost. This is not the long-term investment that Erling Haaland would have made, linked to a move to Camp Nou. Barca have simply given themselves more time to figure things out by signing a contract with Aguero.
Erling Haaland spielt seit January 2020 beim BVB
Image Credit: Getty Images
In isolation, Aguero is a potentially nifty addition. As he struggled for consistent playing time in his final season at Manchester City, his latest appearances for the club suggested more was left in the tank. Barcelona will create chances for their new center-forward. Aguero will like to lead the line for such a dangerous attack gear.
But in a summer window that will see Barca spend next to nothing on free agents like Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum, it’s a signing that provides more questions than answers even if such caution on the transfer market is necessary due to the precarious financial situation.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of signing Aguero, from Barcelona’s perspective, is what it could mean for Lionel Messi’s future. Such is the close friendship between the two, it seems highly unlikely that the Argentine will leave his compatriot so soon after arriving. Regardless of all other factors, it’s understandable that Barca have made a bet that Aguero and Messi will mesh as well on the pitch as they do off the pitch.
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