Manchester City

Real Madrid: City ban could lead to Atletico Aguero bidding war

UEFA's announcement that City face a two-season ban from European competition could spark a bidding war for the Argentina striker this summer.

Real Madrid: City ban could lead to Atletico Aguero bidding war

Manchester City’s ban from UEFA competition is likely to spark an exodus from the Etihad Stadium this summer with Pep Guardiola and a number of his first-team stars on the agenda of Europe’s big-hitters. While previously the former Barça and Bayern manager and his expensively arrayed stable of talent would have been out of reach for City’s continental competitors, the prospect of two years without Champions League football is not one that will sit well with some of the more senior players, among whom Sergio Agüero is the jewel in the crown.

City’s all-time top scorer, who joined the blue half of Manchester from Atlético Madrid in 2011, has often stated his desire to retire at his boyhood club Independiente but much like his compatriot and international teammate Leo Messi, he may feel that he has yet got two or three years left in him competing at the highest level in Europe before a swansong in the Argentinean league.

City’s predicament strengthens the hand of several clubs who have previously courted Agüero, who has never stated any desire to leave Manchester before but may be considering his options now. For Atlético Madrid, the timing could hardly be more convenient and the prospect of Agüero completing a footballing palindrome will surely be at the top of Diego Simeone’s to-do list this summer. Assuming Simeone remains at Atlético, the lure of working with his compatriot would probably appeal to Agüero and the Rojiblancos remain in need of a striker after a failed attempt to lure Edinson Cavani from PSG in January.

A tale of two cities for Agüero with Madrid return? 

Agüero’s contract at the Etihad expires in June 2021 and as he will be 32 when the start of next season comes around he will hardly command a colossal fee. Real Madrid could also reignite their interest in the striker, who flirted with a move across the Spanish capital while at Atlético before opting for the Premier League and City’s nascent bid for domestic domination. The omnipresence of Karim Benzema, whose current contract runs until 2022, will remain an obstacle to the signing of direct competition for the Frenchman as it has always done, but the prospect of having Agüero and Benzema at his manager’s disposal will surely have Florentino Pérez rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

Agüero’s commitment to City is doubtless and he could opt to remain whatever the outcome of the club’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, in the same way several senior Juventus players stuck out the Calciopoli scandal in 2006 that saw the Old Lady relegated to Serie B. He could also bring forward his desired move back to Independiente by a season but it will not be a decision that passes without the apple of Champions League football being offered by a club that is not forbidden from competing.