Pep Guardiola will be “delighted” even if Sergio Agüero signs for a Premier League rival when Manchester City’s record goalscorer departs in the summer.
The 32-year-old has not been offered a new deal so can join another club as a free agent. Agüero, who has 257 goals in 385 appearances for City, is certain to attract interest from domestic and overseas teams.
Guardiola was asked whether he would be concerned if the Argentinian stayed in the Premier League. “The best for him, we wish – all of us,” he said. “Find the best for Sergio for the last years in his career, for sure. We’ll be delighted with the decision he takes, the best for him and his family and his career. My preference is his preference. His preference is my preference. The best for him is the best for us.”
The manager is unsure whether City fans will see Agüero hit top form again before he departs. “Everything can happen,” he said. “I’m sorry, I’m not a person who can see far away for more than one week. In football I learned from my period as a player and a manager that everything can change quickly in a positive way or not positive way. Everyone must be ready and hopefully Sergio can be ready quick [following a long injury layoff].
“Sergio is a lovely person with specific qualities and skills. I understand him, I know him and I understand he needs time to get in the best condition. I said last week after we announced [his departure] the way he trained, and in the Leicester game [2-0 win], which was so difficult because they defend so deep and so tight, for the strikers it is not easy, he moved well and helped us. He felt something in his leg [so] he was substituted. He is doing better.”
Guardiola explained why Raheem Sterling has started only one of City’s past six games. “Right now I decided because I see Riyad [Mahrez] and Phil [Foden] in incredible top form. This is the only reason why – there is not another one.”