Watching helpless as his team suffer a crushing loss would have been bad enough, but what must have upset Sergio Aguero even more is that Pep Guardiola only brought on two players despite desperately needing a goal, and afterwards admitted that he was relatively happy with his team’s performance except their finishing.
Sadly, Aguero’s glittering Premier League career looks like it’s coming to an unfitting end.
Sergio Aguero was an unused substitute as Manchester City lost to rivals United on Sunday
The 32-year-old is out of contract in the summer and Manchester City aren’t exactly breaking their backs to try and get him to sign a new deal.
That’s not to say Aguero will definitely leave the Etihad Stadium in the summer, but it’s looking likely at present.
Once upon a time, a striker of his calibre would have had all the European giants lining up to acquire his services.
But at his age, and with injuries continuing to plague him for the best part of 12 months, Aguero’s options are few and far between.
City legend Aguero looks increasingly likely to be walking away from Manchester this summer
Aguero, who hasn’t scored a league goal since this one last January, can leave on a free in June
After all, any club understands that signing Aguero would now be taking a gamble because he will still command a big salary – he earns £220,000 per week at City.
And for a player who hasn’t scored a league goal since January 2020, has managed just 11 appearances all season and now looks like he will be dropped by Argentina, could he realistically justify the money?
There’s always going to be more than an element of risk involved when it comes to signing strikers nearing the ends of their careers.
But Aguero has been one of the best goalscorers around in the past decade and that will always attract him interest.
He will forever remain one of City’s all-time greats – perhaps the greatest? – with 254 goals for the club in his 10 years there, but with doubts over Aguero’s fitness, who will be prepared to take a punt on him this summer?
Sportsmail weigh up his options.
With Aguero suffering injury troubles, it is not clear who will try to sign him this summer
Barcelona are in the midst of a financial crisis and have tightened the purse strings on Ronald Koeman’s transfer budget.
Aguero, therefore, suddenly becomes a very attractive option.
The striker will be available on a free transfer in the summer and is a cheap alternative to Barcelona’s other targets.
The LaLiga giants also see Aguero as someone who could help them kill two birds with one stone.
It will give them a high-profile replacement for Luis Suarez, who left for Atletico Madrid last summer, but could also give them a player whose connection and friendship with Lionel Messi may entice him to stay.
Ronald Koeman doesn’t have a large budget at Barcelona so Aguero is an attractive option
They hope signing the striker could also convince his compatriot Lionel Messi (right) to stay
Aguero made his name in Spain as a young striker playing for Atletico, so will have fond memories of his time in LaLiga, too.
It is also a less physical league where older strikers tend to flourish. Suarez and Karim Benzema are cases in point. As are Levante’s Roger Marti and Jose Luis Morales Nogales, who both have 10 league goals this season.
If Aguero still has the bit between his teeth and ambitions to remain playing at the highest level, he will certainly be interested by Barcelona’s attention.
It’s not his most likely landing spot, but it would be foolish to rule this out.
Aguero has never attempted to hide his desire to one day return to boyhood club Independiente.
Before his contract was extended in 2018, he revealed that he would be heading back to the club where it all started.
‘It’s clear to me that when my contract ends, after the World Cup [Russia 2018], I’m going to Independiente,’ Aguero said back in 2016.
‘Here at Manchester City they are great with me, they always told me that they were open if the chance of a transfer arises.’
Aguero has made it no secret that he wants to return to his boyhood club Independiente
There is no better time than this summer for Aguero to seal his dream return to the Avellaneda giants.
Aguero began his career at the club, joining in 1997 as a youngster before leaving in 2006 to sign for Atletico Madrid.
Now a return is on the cards after 15 years, with Independiente considered to be the frontrunners to sign him this summer.
Aguero is one of the greatest Argentinian strikers of all time and would undoubtedly be welcomed back with open arms. Big chance that this move happens.
David Beckham loves to plot bold moves for his Inter Miami franchise.
The whole idea itself was bonkers but he made it a reality and now the former Manchester United legend is hell-bent on building a star-studded squad full of the biggest names in football.
When asked about the possibility of bringing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to his club, Beckham said: ‘Without a doubt, those are the type of players that we aspire to bring to our club.’
He has already managed to convince Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuain to join and Aguero could be the next.
David Beckham has outlined his ambitions to build a star-studded squad at Inter Miami
He has already convinced one great Argentinian forward to join in Gonzalo Higuain (left)
The Argentina international was on Beckham’s shortlist a year ago and it’s likely they will sound him out again when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
And thanks to the Designated Player Rule, nicknamed the Beckham Rule, which allows MLS clubs to sign three players outside their salary caps, Aguero’s wage demands shouldn’t be a problem.
When Beckham approached Aguero 12 months ago, he was reportedly not closed off about the move but it’s hard to see Inter Miami having more pull than Barcelona or his boyhood club right now.
Stay at Manchester City
As previously mentioned, Manchester City do not seem overly struck on the idea of keeping Aguero past his contract and no conversation about that happening has taken place.
The 32-year-old has been a brilliant servant to the club, but they are already looking to build for the post-Aguero era with Erling Haaland and Harry Kane being lined up as his potential successors.
Aguero has always spoken about his desire to return to Argentina and with only a few years left of his playing career, this could be his last chance.
For the time being however, Pep Guardiola is delighted to have him around and insisted that his ‘special qualities’ will help City in their quest to win an unprecedented Quadruple.
Pep Guardiola loves Aguero but the striker seems unlikely to stay at City beyond this season
City are lining up moves for Harry Kane (left) and Erling Haaland (right) to replace Aguero
City have had to get used to playing without a main striker in the absence of both Aguero and Gabriel Jesus at times this season – but Aguero will likely have a chance to put himself in the shop window between now and the end of the season with some appearances in his starting XI in the coming weeks.
If Aguero can show anywhere near the kind of prolific form of recent years to help deliver any of the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League then who’s to say he can’t convince City of offering him at least one more year?
Stranger things have happened but that, in truth, is nothing more than speculation as both appear to have made their minds up already.
This, it seems, will be the final chapter of what has been a beautiful love affair.
And what about retirement?
Given the year he’s had, retirement has probably entered Aguero’s mind once or twice.
But the general consensus is that if he’s fit, Aguero is still one of the best at what he does.
Despite all the injuries, Aguero will feel he has at least two more years left.
He knows his body better than anybody else and will know when the time is right to close the curtain on his career, which doesn’t seem like right now.
And with the chance to return to his boyhood club, you’d expect Aguero not to hang his boots up just yet.
Even with all of his injuries in past 12 months, Aguero is unlikely to hang up his boots just yet