Talk of a Real Madrid bid for Manchester City's Sergio Aguero has once again surfaced, with a number of reports, including David Anderson's in the Mirror, suggesting the La Liga giants retain an interest in the striker and will launch a bid at some stage in the near future.
Real's president, Florentino Perez, has hinted a deal could well be in the offing, sending the British press into a headspin. Perez reportedly said, "We are not thinking about making a move for Aguero - at the moment. Right now, there is no real urgency to sign new players."
Perez's use of "at the moment," suggesting Aguero is in their longer-term transfer thoughts, has given headline-makers the ammunition needed to talk up a move.
But City, of course, are in a strong position. Aguero has three years left on his current deal and has always appeared happy at the Etihad, with the club hardly in need of the money a potential transfer would bring.
More important, though, is their desire to avoid stagnating in the same fashion they did last time they won the league, with progression uppermost in the minds of Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Txiki Begiristain, Ferran Soriano and Manuel Pellegrini.
In 2012, when City landed their first title in 44 years, the following summer was characterised by indecisiveness in the transfer window. Rather than building on their success by improving the first team and strengthening their squad, they launched a last-minute trolley dash that saw a series of underwhelming deals struck.
City's title defence was flimsy, over in March as Manchester United reclaimed their position as the top side in the country.
This summer must be different, and keeping hold of their star players and adding to them is surely the club's priority. Aguero falls into the bracket of "world class," one of a core of players at City who are part of the top tier in terms of calibre.
Unlike 31-year-old Yaya Toure, who has been at the centre of transfer talk, Aguero has plenty yet to offer and appears to be improving year on year. It would be unthinkable for City to start next season without him.
The club want to continue their domestic dominance and begin challenging more competitively in the Champions League, with the improvements made under Pellegrini this season just the start of the club's vision being realised.
Real Madrid often make it very difficult for players and clubs to refuse their offers, given their position as one of the most famous and illustrious clubs in world football, but City must do everything in their power to block a move.
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: @RobPollard_.
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