The rise of Gabriel Jesus after just three weeks as a Manchester City player raised doubts about the future of Sergio Agüero at the club — again.
Rumors of Agüero leaving are no surprise: Real Madrid and Barcelona have been linked with the striker forever, in good and bad moments, and we always discard the rumors because they're stupid. A new circumstance is upon us, though. Gabriel Jesus looks to be a very promising talent, and it is at least possible to wonder whether or not Agüero will be such a key part of the squad for much longer.
So Pep Guardiola was very quick to dismiss all the rumors and questions during his press conference before the Premier League match against Swansea City:
"I understand the debate. But there's no doubt about the quality of Sergio. I can say how happy I am with what he did - except the seven games when he was banned.
“The big clubs in Europe always have a lot of strikers - and there has been at this club too – Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, Sergio, Edin Dzeko, all together. In the big clubs, you see at Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus - at Real Madrid, Morata doesn't play. Big clubs need a lot of strikers and we do.
"Sergio remains the most - or one of the most - important players in our squad. Without him it will not be possible. He's played all the games except one in Barcelona - for a tactical decision - and one when he'd come back from Argentina. The other games, when he was not banned, he always played - and played good.
"With Kelechi [Iheanacho] we have seven strikers, if you include everyone who plays up front, like wingers. This guy [Gabriel Jesus] arrives, he played good - and that's why he was playing."
As important as Agüero is and will continue to be, it is fair to question if Gabriel Jesus is capable of stealing his space as the main striker if the Brazilian continues to improve. That is not a problem for Guardiola, because the Catalan manager is very confident the two can play together:
“They can play together. Individually, Gabriel can play on the left, so now I have many options up front. In Brazil, Gabriel played on the left side. He likes to play on the left, with the movement in the diagonals, like he was doing in the last games.
"Both can play together, because Gabriel is not just one in behind, he's good in the box, he's a fighter. His [running] backwards is really good, that's why he can help us a lot. His [running] backwards is really good, that's why he can help us a lot. I love players who make backwards moves to help the team and show me that desire to keep the ball, to attack again. I love that.”
We may actually get to see Agüero and Jesus starting together on Sunday against the Swans, and both players can work to make the doubters and rumor creators see that Pep is right.