Atletico Madrid’s Argentinian international striker Sergio Aguero, has asked to be allowed to leave the club this summer, and some of Europe’s top sides are preparing to snare the talented forward from Los Rojiblancos.
“I said long ago that when I wanted to go, I would say so publicly. And the time has come. So I have kept my word and here I am,” said Aguero on his website late Monday.
“I find it hard to leave Atletico. It hurts me and saddens me. But I don’t find it hard to explain why I am doing it.
“I’ve thought about it for a long time and I’m convinced that I must be true to myself. I think that I should not rule out the possibility to keep learning, to keep growing.”
Aguero was also keen to stress to the supporters of the club that his move is about much more than finance, but is more about sporting opportunities.
“[The decision] is not an economic issue but strictly a sporting one. So I want to clearly express my appreciation to the club for the efforts it has made to give me a salary that equates with those of the largest clubs in the world.”
“I want to say also that this decision has been maturing for some time. The issue was discussed and agreed with Atletico last year on the occasion of the renewal of my contract.”
The player, known commonly at Atleti as ‘Kun’, joined the club in 2006 from Independiente in an £18m deal and has since gone on to become a key part of the Argentina international squad – albeit behind Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi in recent times – whilst he has also bagged over 100 goals in his five full seasons in Spain.
His contract runs until 2014 and has a buy-out clause – re-negotiated in January – set at £40m. However, the buy-out clause is only relevant to clubs in Spain, yet, the prospect of paying slightly more shouldn’t be enough to deter some of European football’s powerhouses from making their moves, to take the player from the Vicente Calderon.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is a known admirer and is keen on pairing Aguero with £50m striker Fernando Torres – the two played together during Aguero’s first year in Spain, before Torres move to Liverpool.
However, any move that the Blues may wish to make may well be usurped by Spanish giants Real Madrid and manager Jose Mourinho, who have earmarked Aguero as their number one target this summer.
Although the rivalry between Real and Atleti is fierce, and Aguero would be seen as deserting the Atleti ship during a time of relative upheaval at the club – Quique Sanchez Flores, the Head Coach, and Aguero’s striker partner Diego Forlan, both also look set to leave the 2010 Europa League winners this summer, whilst the position of the club’s chairman, Enrique Cerezo, is also uncertain – the Argentine is believed to favour moving to the Bernabeu, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca.
Indeed it is believed that officials from the nine-time European Cup winners will meet with Aguero’s representatives at some point this week to discuss a potential deal.
Other sides who may well be interested include Italian giants Internazionale and Juventus – the Bianconeri are looking to completely overhaul their squad this summer after a poor campaign which saw them fail to qualify for the Champions League – as well as Manchester City, who are able to offer Aguero Champions League football next season.