It’s an uncomfortable question that no one has wanted to answer at Manchester City; how do you replace Sergio Aguero?
He has been the most consistent goalscorer in the Premier League for almost the last decade. Blessed with strength, pace, positional intelligence and a cannon of a strike, he is almost the perfect striker.
Having initially struggled to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s system, he has become one of the team’s most important players.
However, injuries have taken their toll over recent years. Since November 24 2019, the Argentine has missed 25 matches for Manchester City.
Now aged 32, and with injuries starting to mount up, a younger model needs to be thought about. But who could possibly adapt to Manchester City’s demands and Aguero’s legacy?
An obvious place to start maybe, but it’s difficult to look past the young Norwegian. His goal scoring record is quite frankly silly. In 26 appearances for Borussia Dortmund since his arrival in January, he has scored 23 goals as well as laying on six assists. He is a physical monster, standing at six foot four.
However, terrifyingly to go with his massive stature, he is blessed with lightning pace as well.
His shooting is not scattergun by any means either. His shots found the target 53% of the time last season in the Bundesliga. By contrast, Aguero’s only found the target 34% of the time in the Premier League.
There is an element to Haaland’s game he’d have to work on however, his passing. Since joining Borussia Dortmund, his passing accuracy sits at 73%, with 21.5 passes attempted per game.
Meanwhile, the Argentine has averaged 82% pass success, over the past four seasons, averaging 22 passes per 90. However, with his goal-scoring record, it’s hard to see him being passed over.
You already have a strong as a bull, Argentine striker, why not get another one? The 23-year-old has been a revelation alongside Romelu Lukaku at Inter Milan.
He’s not the finisher Sergio Aguero is, but since the start of last season, he’s averaging over a goal per game. He’s also performing at a similar level to his expected goals, with an XG of 0.53 per 90, scoring 0.54 per 90.
He has a similar shooting accuracy statistic to his countryman as well, with 34% of his shots over the last two seasons hitting the target. One thing that does represent something of an issue, is his use in a two striker system.
Guardiola has quite often played with his formation but has very rarely played with two traditional strikers. Now, this is not to say he can’t adapt to Guardiola’s system. However, he will need to adapt quickly if he is to take up the mantle of being Aguero’s replacement.
It’d be disrespectful not to look at Gabriel Jesus as a possible solution to Manchester City’s problems.
The young Brazilian burst onto the scene at Manchester City after his move from Palmeiras. However, he has gone under the radar since then. Warming the bench more often than not, and not able to push the veteran Argentine out of his place.
However, on inspection, maybe despite not being able to start many matches, his statistics are promising. Last season, he averaged 0.62 goals per 90 in the Premier League. He also has a higher shot accuracy than his teammate, with 42% of his shots finding the target. At 23 years of age, he has plenty of room for improvement. Meanwhile, he has already adapted to Manchester City’s system, with no adaptation period required.
It will no doubt be difficult to replace Aguero. His leadership, his goals, his sheer presence on the pitch. However, it is a task Manchester City need to be ready to face. If they don’t, their status as a juggernaut in English football could well be under threat.