Nothing stays the same in the world forever. Except for change.
The latest change at the Etihad Stadium is the announcement that Sergio Aguero will leave Manchester City at the end of the season. It is so surreal, but it is for real. After so much success and so many memories, the time to say goodbye has come.
It was bound to happen at some point just as has been the case with some legends of the same era. From Pablo Zabaleta to Edin Dzeko, Joe Hart, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and David Silva. These are some of the key players that made the club a force to be reckoned with on the pitch.
But one by one they have come to the end of their stay. Goodbyes have been bitter-sweet. Some more sudden than expected. Yet, they are all necessary to move forward.
Progress at the Etihad Stadium has ensured gone are the days when Manchester United won the Premier League back-to-back for three seasons straight unchallenged. Gone are the days when Manchester City’s goal for the Premier League season was survival.
Then the team had to fight for a mid-table place or struggle to stay above the relegation zone. These days, the Old Trafford side plays second fiddle to the Blues. That has been made possible by several factors.
First, was the take over by the ADUG. Then came the investment in top players and managers. Success followed. But to stay at the top, the team must continuously be reinforced and players on the decline must be let go.
However, it is important for the timing to be right.
Experienced players bring a distinctive advantage to any team. They help the younger and new players settle into the team and develop the necessary winning mentality. That is why every team needs them.
Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho remain the oldest players in the team and Aguero the only surviving member of the team that won the first league title of the Premier League era at City. Therefore, their departure will mark the end of an era.
Both entered the current campaign with one year left on their contracts and there was no sign of renewal deep into the season. Consequently, speculations have been rife about their futures. The announcement has finally been made that the Argentine is set to leave.
The signs have been there with only eight appearances in the Premier League this term. Although his season has been plagued with injuries, the 32-year-old has uncharacteristically been left out of the team even when fit.
That is a clear sign Pep Guardiola was already looking beyond him. It was strange to see the striker complain of other players’ unwillingness to pass the ball to him after the second-leg Champions League win against Borussia Monchengladbach. But it also showed all was not well.
For a player that has scored 257 goals for the club and will always be remembered for the iconic injury-time strike that handed City the 2011/2012 league title on the final day of the season, his legendary status at the club has since been sealed.
But another year at the club would have been great. Given the fact that this season was hampered by injuries, a one-year extension that would have seen him go through the season knowing it was his last would have been great. Moreso when the fans will likely be back in the stands to watch their hero spend his last season with the club as a player.
But then, there is something else this announcement says; that Man City will sign a top striker in the summer.
Although the team has done quite well without the contribution of strikers this term, that is rather an anomaly. Top winning teams have been known to possess a top striker or two who do the magic at critical times. Others like Real Madrid and Barcelona had a freak goalscorer who always came good.
City needed the combination of two strikers in Mario Balotelli and Aguero to win the title in 2012. Eden Dzeko’s goals also helped to win other trophies. Man United have a long list of strikers that have single-handedly put the Red Devils on top. The most recent was signing Robin van Persie from Arsenal to dethrone City as League champions in 2012/2013.
So Aguero’s departure must mean that another striker like Erling Haaland, Harry Kane or someone similar is headed for the Etihad Stadium in the summer. That will only be fitting to fill his void.
At this point, it is best to praise Aguero for his diligent service to the club. The Argentine has so far given us some of our best memories as City fans if not the best. I mean who will ever forget Aguerooooooooooooooooo?!!!