With 19 goals in 19 games already this season, Sergio Aguero’s stock continues to rise. Considered one of the best players in the Premier League for some time, he is now being talked about as one of the finest in Europe.
His manager, Manuel Pellegrini, is a big fan. During the recent press conference after City’s 6-0 win over Tottenham, Pellegrini said he was the third-best player in the world, with only Messi and Ronaldo better than Aguero. “I think Kun [Aguero], after Messi and Ronaldo, is [in] the top three players in the world,” purred the Chilean.
A few weeks later, at a press conference at City’s Carrington training complex, he was asked, in light of Luis Suarez's form, whether he still felt Aguero was the best striker in the Premier League, and his response was emphatic:
I never said he was the best striker in the Premier League—I said he was the best player. Maybe there are players who are better strikers than him, but not as complete as him.
Sergio is just 25 years old, so I think of course he can improve.
I think this year he has improved a lot in the way he works during matches.
He has always been a top player and he has always scored goals, but I think at this moment, he has added working for the team without the ball, which is also important for him.
Maybe it (his improvement) is because he is older. For me, a player has the best performances between 24 and 30 years old.
Sergio started very young in his career and I think that every year, he is improving.
This year, the best thing he is doing is scoring goals, but he has added to his performance the work for the team without the ball.
So what, then, is his market value?
Given the length of his contract, which runs until 2017 after the one-year extension he signed in the summer (via BBC Sport), and the fact that City do not need the money, it would certainly take a very hefty fee to prize him from Pellegrini's grasp.
The best way to consider his market value is to compare him to the big-money deals that took place during the most recent window. Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani were the most high-profile strikers to move during the summer—both signing for French Ligue 1 sides.
Falcao joined Monaco for £53 million (via Daily Mail) and was given the task of firing the newly-promoted side to the league title. He had enjoyed an incredible spell at Atletico Madrid, scoring 52 La Liga goals during his last two seasons and had very often looked unplayable in Spain, with his pace and goalscoring instincts marking him out as a world-class No. 9.
He's picked up in France where he left off in Spain, scoring nine league goals in his first 14 games. A deadly striker who needs very few chances to score, Falcao has superb ability and is capable of scoring goals for any club side in the world.
Much like the Colombian, Cavani had been highly-regarded for some time having scored 78 league goals in three seasons for Napoli before his £55 million move to Paris Saint-Germain in July (via BBC Sport). Cavani not only scores lots of goals, but also provides a physical threat like very few other forwards, with his height and strength a key part of his game.
He has out-scored Falcao in Ligue 1 thus far, with 12 goals in 17 games, as well as four Champions League goals in just five appearances. He has proven over a sustained period that he can score regularly given the service.
He was Roberto Mancini's top target last season, and could well have been lining up alongside Aguero had things panned out differently (via the Guardian). It really is a frightening thought.
Falcao and Cavani both possess world-class ability, but neither can match Aguero's all-round game. The Argentine has the ability to play as a No. 9, but is also capable of dropping off and involving himself all over the pitch, consistently dragging defenders out of position and creating chances for others. He already has six assists this season, whereas Falcao and Cavani are yet to register one.At 25, Aguero is also slightly younger than Falcao (27) and Cavani (26), and the improvements in his game this season, which have been vast, suggest he is yet to reach his maximum potential.
Aguero is a complete player. He can play as an out-and-out No. 9 or as a deep-lying forward, has incredible pace, balance and strength and is a prolific goalscorer. When taking into account his age, contract length, ability and the current market, his value must be somewhere in the region of £65-70 million, and given City's finances, which mean they would never need to sell, he would probably cost any potential suitor somewhere between £75-80 million.
It's incredibly difficult to measure, especially given that such fine margins separate them, but Aguero is, for me, a player who can offer more than either Falcao or Cavani, and therefore his value should reflect that.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise stated.
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