Sergio Aguero has signed a one-year contract extension at Manchester City, tying him to the Premier League side until June 2020.
The 28-year-old has twice won the title with City – unforgettably netting an injury-time winner against QPR in 2012 to clinch glory – and has established himself in third on their all-time goalscoring charts with 154.
He would be expected to overhaul all-time leading marksman Eric Brook’s figure of 178 if he sees out the duration of his new terms, although the Argentina international’s future at City has been the subject of speculation during Pep Guardiola’s time as manager and the club has not formally announced the deal.
Aguero’s agent Hernan Reguera held talks with City last January, according to official FIFA documents, while reports last September claimed a contract was on the table, with Guardiola stating “I think he is going to extend the contract, but it is not official”.
A combination of factors – from Aguero’s stated desire to end his career with boyhood club Independiente, to Guardiola’s demands that a man with 18 goals in 23 appearances under his watch improves his all-round game and the arrival of Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus – meant there was considerable intrigue over Aguero, Guardiola and Reguera being spotted dining at Manchester restaurant Salvis.
The City manager told a news conference contract talks had not joined Italian cuisine on the table, before later confirming this was because Aguero’s renewal is already in order.
“He has already signed the contract,” he said.
“Sergio will be here until he decides to be here. He’s our best striker.
“We have a problem with goals so we need him. What I want is the best possible [for Aguero]. He will decide, not me.”
City attributed the lack of fanfare around Aguero’s extended deal and Guardiola’s lack of concern with issues to the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss’ familiarity with a director of football model at his previous clubs.
Close confidant Txiki Begiristain takes on this role at City and Guardiola explained how his own prerogative is more closely concerned with the displays of a playing squad that have won four and lost as many of their past eight Premier League matches to lie fifth ahead of facing in-form Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola is more concerned with the members of his squad, such as Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta, whose terms will conclude at the end of the current campaign, and said: “I know the people who are going to finish to prepare for next season but the people who have one, two three or more years left on their contract is not my worry because I have a lot of stuff to do and think about.
“What I want is to help Sergio to play better, as best as possible. That is my target.”
Guardiola insisted the prospect of pairing Aguero and Jesus together in attack should not be ruled out and stated they can play as a pair ahead of the keenly anticipated showdown with Spurs, which City will begin 10 points shy of leaders Chelsea.
“Yeah, they can play together. Definitely they can play together, yeah, it depends on the way they are going to play but yeah, they can play together,” he said.
“Gabriel is a player who likes to run in behind, he attacks the goal and he can play central, a little bit left, in both positions like he played with Palmeiras and in the national team with Brazil.”