When it was announced that Lionel Messi was to leave Barcelona, there was a brief moment that it was suggested that the Catalan giants might have more trouble ahead.
La Liga’s strict financial rules imposed on Barca meant they couldn’t re-register Messi — even with a 50 per cent pay cut — and the world’s best player has been forced to leave.
At the same time, some reports suggested that Barcelona might even struggle to register their three new signings this summer: Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero.
That threat appears to have been nothing more than speculation, but it did raise a brief-but-interesting question among City fans: If Aguero was available, would he be worth taking back?
City ended their 10-year love affair with Aguero this summer, with the club’s record scorer signing off in style in the final game of the season after a difficult year with injuries.
He couldn’t add a Champions League medal to his collection of titles, but leaves a club legend and City will struggle to replace his character and influence — let alone his goals.
If Barcelona couldn’t play him, and City face going into the new season without a new striker, surely would have been worse options than going another year with Aguero back in blue.
However, City made the decision not to offer Aguero a new deal months ago, and communicated it in good time to allow him the chance to get a fitting send-off and arrange a new club. His dreams of playing alongside Messi at the Nou Camp might have been cruelly dashed, but Barcelona seems a good fit for Aguero, despite their off-field problems.
But City will be looking at events at in Catalonia and feeling some relief they allowed their heads to rule their hearts when it came to Aguero, after the striker was confirmed to have already picked up another injury.
Aguero will miss the first 10 weeks of the season, adding to Barca’s woes, and the news will have been a reminder to City that their ruthless decision to let him leave was probably the right one.
He will score goals when he is fit but City did right to move on.
Similarly, it seems City are distancing themselves from signing free agent Messi, who looks bound for Paris.
City wanted Messi last year, and then went on record to say they would be ready to sign him if he became available again. Now, though, they remain fixed on trying to sign Harry Kane as their big Aguero replacement.
With Jack Grealish arriving in attacking midfield, the need for a striker is greater than the need for Messi, however tempting he would be. The manner of Messi’s exit means wherever he ends up, his heart would still be in Barcelona.
Kane, who seemingly wants to join City, is a better fit for the dressing room.
City must continue to be ruthless, and history shows they get far better results when emotion is taken out of their decision making.