Pep Guardiola has hinted this could be Sergio Aguero’s final season at Manchester City as he looks to a future without the Argentinean star.
Aguero has enjoyed a stunning nine-and-a-half year spell at the Etihad, netting 256 goals in 379 appearances to become the club’s all-time top scorer.
However, the 32-year-old has made just five Premier League appearances this season after struggling with injuries.
And with his contract set to expire in June this could well prove to be Aguero’s last campaign at City.
Speaking ahead of his side’s game against Aston Villa on Wednesday, Guardiola confessed his side were missing the player amid his injury issues – while admitting it is something they may have to get used to in the long term.
“We need him and we miss him because his numbers speak for themselves. He is the best striker in our history,” Guardiola said.
“He can create and win games for himself. We could have complained (about being without him), but we did the opposite.
“We want him back, but we have to move forward, find alternatives, use the quality we have and move forward.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola said centre-back Aymeric Laporte will face a battle to get back in the team after his injury amid the fine form of Ruben Dias and John Stones at the back.
“It depends on Laporte,” he added. “He has special quality with the ball. He has to be focused to come back in the best condition possible and then it depends on performance.
“We cannot win titles if we don’t play good in defence. We have conceded few and been solid.
“Ruben’s impact has been massive. Not just with John, when he played alongside Aymeric or Eric Garcia too.
“He is a guy with the ability to live every single action during 95 minutes, he’s always concentrated in what has to do and to his mates, the holding midfielders, the full-backs.
“He is always concentrating – and that is not easy to find in a 23-year-old.”