Thursday 23 November 2017

Man City chairman Khaldoon dismisses 'ridiculous' speculation over Aguero future

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has stressed Sergio Aguero's place in the squad is an "absolute must" and dismissed "ridiculous" speculation about the Argentina striker's future.

The arrival of teenager Gabriel Jesus in January saw the 28-year-old, who has scored 122 Premier League goals in 181 appearances since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, lose his place in the side.

Injury to Jesus saw him regain his place and Aguero finished the season with 20 league goals, well ahead of Jesus and Raheem Sterling (both seven), but that has not stopped rumours about his future.

"I've read a lot about the speculation on this and it is ridiculous," Khaldoon told mancity.com.

"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."

Aguero's position at City now appears to be safe and Khaldoon is hopeful midfielder Yaya Toure will stay on beyond the expiry of his contract this summer, while he is also looking forward to seeing rejuvenated captain Vincent Kompany next season.

He added: "(Manager) Pep (Guardiola) has a lot of trust in him and I hope Yaya will be with us and continue this journey with us."

But there are significant changes to the squad still to be made and boss Pep Guardiola's clear-out has already begun with the departures of Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna - all full-backs - winger Jesus Navas, and goalkeeper Willy Cabellero already announced.

Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva has already signed for £43million with Benfica goalkeeper Ederson also set to join after arriving in Manchester for a medical ahead of a £35million move.

City have also been linked with Tottenham's Kyle Walker and Monaco's Benjamin Mendy to fill their full-back positions and are looking to get their business done early.

"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," added the chairman.

"(Manchester City owner) Sheikh Mansour asks for regular updates on how our thinking is evolving so there are no surprises by the time I come with the final list of recommendations.

"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."

While Khaldoon offered no indication of the players they were targeting, he did admit they all fit a certain profile - namely young and quick - as they seek to freshen up an ageing squad.

He added: "I think the transition of this squad started last year. If you look at the players we brought in, we have introduced youth, talent, speed.

"I look back at some of our dealings last year and it is an indicator of how we are rebuilding this team.

"Leroy Sane: the right age, the right talent and one of the most exciting prospects in Europe and he has shown that on the pitch this year.

"John Stones, 22, is going to be one of the best central defensive players in the world - I have no doubt about that.

"Gabriel Jesus, 19, (is) one of the top future talents in the world.

"Just looking at these three examples that is what we did last year and that is what we should expect this year.

"We want to go and get some of the best talent in the world to be part of this strategy we have been pursuing."

Press Association

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