The news today that Sergio Aguero is set to resume full training this week will come as a massive relief to new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini. The forward, who has been suffering with a knee injury, is yet to play for City this preseason, but looks set to be available for City’s opening Premier League match at home to Newcastle on August 19.
According to the official club website, the striker "is making good progress on his road to recovery." Whether or not he will play any part in City’s final warm-up match against Arsenal on Saturday is unclear, with his last appearance coming against Chelsea in New York in May.
Aguero has scored 47 goals in all competitions during his two seasons at the club, making him one of the first names on the City team sheet. His pace, skill and work-rate mark him out as one of the most feared forwards in the Premier League, and he remains the best striker on City’s books.
In truth, the squad have coped well without him during preseason, thanks mainly to the new arrivals who have given City a strength in depth they previously lacked. Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic look set to revitalize a stagnant forward line that was dramatically less effective last season than the previous campaign.
Aguero’s strengths will now be complemented by the new signings, taking some of the pressure off him to deliver. Last season, the onus to provide goals too often fell on his shoulders, but Pellegrini looks set to pack his side with attacking players, with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho offering protection behind them.
Roberto Mancini’s reluctance to partner Aguero with Carlos Tevez last season was baffling and counter-productive: Aguero seems to thrive from having a partner, something it seems he will have almost certainly have this season. Tevez has since left for Juventus, but with three new attacking players added to City’s squad, his absence should barely be felt.
A substitute appearance against Arsenal in Helsinki on Saturday would be the perfect way to end what has been a solid preseason for Pellegrini’s men. With the new signings already settling in rather nicely, some game time from City’s star striker in the final preseason match would give everyone in the squad a lift.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity