Man City had perfect Aguero replacement but sold him to a Premier League rival
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Manchester City are in the market for a new striker this summer with Sergio Aguero set to leave the club after a decade of service – but did Pep Guardiola already let a readymade replacement leave the Etihad?
Guardiola joined City in 2016 at roughly the same time as a fresh-faced young striker named Kelechi Iheanacho was beginning to make a name for himself.
Iheanacho, who back then was drawing comparisons with Man Utd forward Marcus Rashford, enjoyed a breakthrough season before Guardiola’s arrival, scoring 13 goals in 35 appearances – largely off the subs bench.
Upon Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad, the Nigerian hitman was convinced by his new boss to miss the Rio Olympics in favour of knuckling down with the hope of winning a first-team place.
After signing a new contract extension at around the same time, Guardiola said of the forward; “Kelechi is a natural goal-scorer. I knew about him before, but I’ve been really impressed with him since I arrived.
“I like his personality, his attitude, his ability – we hope to help him reach the highest level and to realise his full potential.”
Iheanacho is finally realising his full potential – but not with Guardiola and Manchester City.
In 2017, the City academy graduate completed a £25million to Leicester.
After a slow start to his time at the King Power under Craig Shakespeare and Claude Puel, Iheanacho is now finally hitting his stride under Brendan Rodgers.
His goal against Chelsea on Tuesday was his 14th since the start of March and put him joint-11th in the Premier League’s scoring charts for the season.
Excluding penalties, no Manchester City player has scored more than Iheanacho in the top-flight this season.
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Despite his excellent form, Guardiola doesn’t regret letting the 24-year-old depart the Etihad, revealing in a recent interview: “The quality was there, he was a young player here and I believe in that moment with Gabriel and Sergio we didn't have much space.”
City did at least have the foresight to include a £50million buyback clause in the deal to sell Iheanacho, but that ran out after the forward put pen to paper on a new three-year contract with Leicester last year.
Iheanacho could have been the perfect replacement for club legend Aguero, but now City will have to look further afield to find the natural successor to the Argentine’s crown.
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