£48m City superstar linked with return to Spain - but told he's staying

Manchester City star Sergio Aguero continues to be linked with a move back to Spain, despite manager Manuel Pellegrini declaring he is not for sale.

Aguero, 25, has been a star for City ever since his £35m move from Atletico Madrid in 2011, but has regularly been the subject of speculation as Real Madrid and Barcelona look to bring the Argentine international back to La Liga.

Last week it was Real who were linked with a £48m swoop for Aguero, only for City boss Pellegrini to state that Aguero wouldn't be sold after his side hammered Swansea City 3-0.

"I don't know anything about that. I don't think Sergio wants to leave so that's not a problem for us. I don't believe in that," Pellegrini was quoted by the Manchester Evening News to have said.

Pellegrini may have to do more talking on the situation, after Catalan media reported that Barcelona had lined up a move to bring Aguero to the Camp Nou. Newspaper 'Sport' were reporting today that Barca boss Gerardo Martino had not only highlighted Aguero as a potential transfer target, but that the club had already spoken with Aguero's agent to gauge interest from the striker.

They go on to say that Aguero has already had conversations with Pellegrini about leaving the club, such is his desire to don the famous blue and red of Barcelona. With international team-mates Javier Mascherano and of course Lionel Messi already at the club, Aguero could join up with some familiar faces, but it seems Pellegrini will take some convincing to let his star striker leave the club.

With Martino seeking more of a traditional striker, Aguero fits the mould as he could also play out wide, allowing a dynamic interchanging three-man frontline of Neymar, Messi and Aguero. Recent results and performances have been disappointing for Martino's men after successive defeats to Ajax and Athletic Bilbao, and the club are committed to bringing in players to aid their season.

Any transfer for Aguero would be difficult, regardless of Pellegrini's stance. City are famously mega-rich and would not need the money from any potential Aguero's sale, whilst Barcelona are having to be more economical – particularly after buying Neymar last summer. Martino is also seeking defensive reinforcements – which is far more pressing than buying another forward – and should maybe consider spending money on a centre back rather than sinking another £50m into a striker.

With so many potential hurdles in this deal, it looks unlikely to happen – but you can never say never in football.

image: © Will Palmer

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch