If recent rumors are to be believed, Sergio Aguero is keen on moving to Barcelona to join up with his compatriot and national team scoring partner, Lionel Messi. Reportedly, Messi and Javier Mascherano have continuously worked to persuade the Manchester City striker to leave the Etihad for the Camp Nou. The only problem is actually working out a deal with Manchester City. Understandably, the English club is more than reluctant to sell a star player who is such a reliable source of goals, even if he has struggled with injuries over the past two seasons.
Then there is Cesc Fabregas. Over his three years in Barcelona, the midfielder has failed to lock down a consistent starting position and has found himself shunted around the field in an attempt to add his direct passing and positional anarchy into the traditional Barca structure. As a result, Cesc’s form has wavered massively, soaring and dipping from game to game but fairly consistently dropping off severely post-December. While obviously a productive player, Cesc has struggled in the bigger matches, tending to drift into anonymity while Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta run the show. The result of the former Arsenal captain’s time at Barca is nearly impossible to summarize. Loved by some, loathed by some, Cesc is a near constant topic of argument. Does he still belong in Barcelona? Did the Premier League eliminate any trace of the "Barca DNA" from his time in La Masia?
Personally, I do not think we will ever really know the answer to that question. In three seasons and three managers, Cesc has been lukewarm: good enough to stomach, but a player that never really satisfies. How many times have we found ourselves arguing over whether Cesc actually had a good game? Rarely is it obvious, and we as fans have displayed a similar level of inconsistency in our opinions of the player as the player has in level of play. Moreover, how many times have we said, "I guess he’ll understand positional play eventually"? Cesc, three years in, is still an enigma.
Now we look at Barcelona itself. After a trophyless season -- and that is all I will mention -- the club finds itself in a state of rebuilding. Multiple players out, multiple players in, a new manager, a new assistant sporting director, and loads of holes still to fill. It seems everyone has a different plan for what should be done, and I am no different.
That being said, I think everyone can agree that three main goals must still be accomplished. First, we must solidify the team defensively. This is obvious, as we have looked porous for years now, and we have not made a specific center back signing since Dmytro Chygrynskiy in 2009. Second, we must provide a top class plan of succession in midfield, given that the transfer ban may be reestablished and Xavi and Iniesta are reaching the end of legendary careers. Third, and perhaps the most underrated of all, we must add firepower. Firepower? Yes, goalscoring firepower. The thing we lacked against Atleti, Real Madrid, Elche, Granada, Valladolid, Sociedad, Valencia, Levante...
*Cue immediate comments being hammered out about goal differential and scoring 100 goals and having Messi, etc. etc.*
I have spoken at length about our struggles scoring this past season, even though Alexis had his best season yet in front of goal and Pedro did pretty well too. I will not be repeating myself here, because a numbers analysis would take way too long and I am over 500 words in and still have not gotten to my main point. However, believe me, this team needs natural goal scorers. We do not have a single natural predatory scorer in the team, Messi included. Oh snap, digression time.
This may sound crazy, given that he is the greatest scorer of all time, but Messi’s ridiculous, record-breaking scoring is because his level of football is higher than any other player ever. His goals are a product of simply being so unbelievably good that he can just score by the simple fact of being an incredible footballer. Messi does not need to have Falcao or Ronaldo’s skill set because he is already Messi and thus already better than everyone else. He does not need to pull off extraordinary back heels or bicycle kicks because just by playing his football he will score. This is awesome, but it also leaves us a little light because it requires Leo to ALWAYS produce pieces of individual brilliance. He may not look human sometimes, but he is, and it just is not practical to go into matches wishing for brilliance instead of having dedicated scorers. I know this will probably get a few comments, and as a deviation I would be interested to talk about it in more detail, but I really have to get to my main point.
If we accept that this team needs firepower and a truly natural scorer, there really is not a better-suited player for Messi to partner than Sergio Aguero. These two tear it up at the international level and share a near telepathic bond. Where Alexis and Neymar are naturally dribbling creators who can also score, Aguero is a pure finisher who can also dribble. The key difference is that Kun plays on the shoulder of the defender and sprints in behind to shoot on goal, while Neymar and Alexis want to seek the ball, turn, and attack on the dribble before making a final pass.
Then there is Aguero’s physique, a feature I have always underrated about him. Where Neymar, Pedro and Alexis are easily pushed off the ball, Aguero’s powerful, low center of gravity allows him to stay on it. I guess the traditional thinking to beat the bus is to go over it, but with Aguero, you go through it. Surprisingly, Aguero’s also very good on the cross. His finishing skills make him exceptional at meeting low crosses on the volley, and he’s underrated in the air as well. The main thing is, he attacks goal ferociously, where Messi tends to drift into pockets. Combining the two would be devastating.
Now the ugly question pops back up...how do we get him without paying 60 million or more? Simple. Why not a Cesc swap? Even if City would want a small amount of cash thrown on top, this deal makes plenty of sense for both parties. We get the scorer and #9 we need to give us the edge in big matches while losing an inconsistent midfielder we are not sure can take over for Xavi.
City gain a tremendous Premier League midfielder who scored 19 goals and managed 19 assists in one season, and who would slot in immediately to their lineup between Samir Nasri and David Silva. Cesc and Nasri shared a great relationship at Arsenal, and the linkup between Silva and Cesc at Euro2012 was absolutely beautiful at times. City lose a player who struggled with injury over the past two seasons and whose goals could be replaced. Cesc gets to play as a natural ‘10’ in the league he developed in, and Aguero reunites with his good buddy Leo back in familiar La Liga stomping grounds. There is the pesky Arsenal matter to consider, but that is hardly a deal-breaker, given the wealth of midfield talent currently at the Emirates.
So what do you guys think? Would this be a good deal? It probably is not even on Zubi’s radar, all things considered, but with strong enough interest there is certainly the possibility it could materialize in the next few months.