MICAH RICHARDS: Why are Man City letting Aguero drift out the door?

MICAH RICHARDS: I don’t understand why Manchester City are letting the king drift out the door… like Vincent Kompany and David Silva, Sergio Aguero is irreplaceable and has earned the right to leave on his own terms

  • Nobody can stay at a club forever but why let Sergio Aguero leave now?
  • Aguero has hardly been given an opportunity for Manchester City this season 
  • He will carry on playing at the highest level due to his glorious natural ability
  • Signing Aguero for nothing plus his wages is an unbelievable deal for any club
  • He is irreplaceable to Man City but I would sign PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe 

A few days ago, I took my phone out to remind myself of The Moment. Sunday, May 13, 2012; the 93rd minute of Manchester City’s game against QPR.

There was Sergio Aguero, drifting in from the left to get a pass from Nigel de Jong. On he goes, playing a one-two with Mario Balotelli, before he darts into the penalty area. He shapes to shoot but, crucially, he feints to get a little bit more space. Then… bang. Off we go into paradise.

I’ve seen the goal that changed the course of City’s modern history a million times. It never fails to give me goosebumps but this time I felt sad. Sergio is the last man standing of the 2012 title winners and the fact he is leaving means a chapter is finally closing on that golden era.

I do not agree that this is the right time for Manchester City to let legend Sergio Aguero go

I still get goosebumps watching his 93rd minute title-winning goal against QPR in 2012

Aguero is the last man standing from the 2012 title winners and this marks the end of an era 

My former team-mate has not been given an opportunity by Manchester City this season

Nobody can stay at a club forever, no matter what they have achieved. But something inside is gnawing away at me. Why are they letting The King drift out the door now? Why has an announcement been made with 10 games to go and the possibility of him making more history?

I would understand the decision not to renew Sergio’s contract if he had played 30 Premier League games this season and looked a shadow of his former self but, since November 23, he’s played 276 minutes in all competitions. It’s hardly any time at all and there have been many games where he’s been fit and he’s not been given an opportunity.

Since it was announced that he was leaving, I’ve seen comments about how it is right for him to move on and the team are ready to go in a different direction. Some supporters are impatient to see investment in someone new.

My initial reaction to it all was, ‘Hold on a minute!’ — I absolutely do not agree that this is the right time. I love Sergio, so it goes without saying that I can’t be totally objective, but I’m putting my personal feelings aside here for what I am about to talk about. This argument is based on football, ability and understanding what he still offers.

To make this point, I’m going to use Edinson Cavani. I’ve spoken to Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Roy Keane recently. They are all top pundits whose opinion I respect greatly and, in the case of Wright and Shearer, they have forgotten more about forward play than I will ever know.

All three of them have raved about Cavani, talking about the difference he has made to Manchester United. They would love to see him stay at Old Trafford for another 12 months, given the impact he has made on the squad. Cavani, for the record, was 34 in February. Clearly, he is not too old.

Aguero has won four Premier League titles and become Manchester City’s record goalscorer

Sergio, on the other hand, is 32. I wouldn’t try to say he is the same player who arrived from Atletico Madrid a decade ago but for it to be claimed he has fallen over the edge this season physically is just nonsense. He has always been someone who needed games to get into a rhythm.

Sergio will carry on playing at the highest level for some time yet because of that glorious natural ability.

The QPR goal is the best evidence. Very few forwards in the world would have had the confidence, the intelligence and the daring to take a split-second when the pressure was at its most intense but that’s why Sergio is different.

Just consider the clubs who want to sign him in June: Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Inter Milan will all be involved. In other words, the elite. Chelsea have wanted to sign him for years. Why wouldn’t they? Aguero for nothing more than his wages? It’s an unbelievable deal!

I’m surprised that City haven’t attempted to keep him for another 12 months. I’m not advocating them giving him a three-year contract or anything like that but, if anyone had earned the right to leave on their own terms, it was Sergio. It’s why I don’t understand the timing of this announcement.

Aguero is irreplaceable to City just like Vincent Kompany (left) and David Silva (centre right)

If Manchester City were to sign anyone to replace Aguero then it should be Kylian Mbappe 

During the course of the next two months, there is the potential for some more moments on a par with what he did against QPR nine years ago, particularly in the Champions League. If I had to pick one player to score a goal to save my life, it would be him all day long.

Whilst saying he is leaving now has the potential to upset his state of mind, I am backing him to finish his City career on a high as the club chases something unprecedented. I suppose on one hand it represents the development of the club that they feel they can progress without a talent of that kind.

Who would I sign to take over? Kylian Mbappe. I have to stress, though, that whoever comes in will be ‘taking over’ and not ‘replacing’. Sergio is irreplaceable, as was Vincent Kompany and David Silva. When the last of the gang walks out the door, it won’t be the same again.

It’s time we all admit that Mason Mount is a gem

It was an encouraging international break for England, one that enabled me to see Mason Mount in a completely different light.

I spoke to Ashley Cole about him once and he was singing Mount’s praises. He kept saying, ‘He’s the real deal, I promise you’. 

My initial view of the Chelsea midfielder was that he worked hard and was someone who could put in a nice cross but I didn’t see him as an England regular.

Mason Mount has taken positive steps and I expect there will be much more to come from him

You all know my view on Jack Grealish and I also hold James Maddison in high regard but Mount is absolutely in the same conversation as them now. 

Grealish has the edge in terms of he is that bit silkier and has star quality but Mount looks primed to start at the Euros.

It’s been a pleasant surprise to see him take such positive steps forward and I expect there will be much more to come. He looks better when England play with a four-man defence and my wish is that Gareth Southgate sticks with that system for the tournament. It suits everyone.

Micah’s Man of the Week 

When John McGinn signed for Aston Villa, there were a few quizzical looks after his first ‘rondo’ session.

Usually these exercises when you keep the ball give you an idea of a player’s ability and touch. I wouldn’t be stretching things to say some of his new team-mates were possibly just a little unsure about him.

Within a few days, however, we were in absolutely no doubt that a gem had arrived from Hibernian. 

John McGinn scored three goals in three games on international duty for Scotland

I never got to play in a match with him but the time I spent on the training ground left me in no doubt he had the tools to go far. In one of my first Sportsmail columns, I highlighted him as someone to watch.

Jack Grealish gets the headlines at Villa Park but don’t underestimate the importance of McGinn. 

He’s had a fantastic break with Scotland, scoring three goals in three games, and he will be back in Dean Smith’s team full of confidence. He’s back to his best after last year’s injury issues.

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