Sergio Aguero’s City departure last summer saw the Catalan tactician attempt to embark on a summer spending spree – ‘attempt’ being the keyword here, of course – but having been unable to prise Harry Kane from Daniel Levy’s vice-like grip and after Manchester United swooped in to seal a deal for Cristiano Ronaldo, the Blues’ striker pursuit hit the buffers.
If you were to explain Manchester City’s imminent sale of Ferran Torres to Barcelona to someone who didn’t know much about football it would sound like a brilliant piece of business.
It’s £46.7million with a potential £8.3m in add-ons for a player who cost just £20.7m roughly 18 months ago, sold to a Europa League side, having struggled to cement his place in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI since his Premier League switch.
And it’s not as though City are struggling for goals of late either, having notched 11 in their previous two games.
However, football is never that simple and Ferran’s undoubted potential adds a significant caveat to the move.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on in the debate over whether City should have retained the Spaniard’s services, one thing that cannot be denied is that Guardiola has helped his former club solve a massive problem.
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Not to worry, as we’ve come to expect of Pep, he had a plan up his sleeve.
Torres had already shown glimpses of his predatory instinct with a late flurry of five goals in his final six games of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign – including a superb hat-trick at Newcastle – and Guardiola was keen to afford the youngster his chance to prove he could be the man to fill Aguero’s boots.
He didn’t disappoint, with flashes of superb movement and a brace in the win over Arsenal capping off a fine start to the campaign.
An injury picked up on international duty curtailed what promised to be a landmark season for the Spain international, and with goals in no short supply in his absence, Ferran now looks to have played his final game in sky blue.
Should his touted move to Camp Nou be sealed, Ferran will likely be tasked with picking up the slack following the departure of Aguero. Hang on, this all sounds weirdly familiar.
Aguero may have been well into the twilight of his career when he moved to the LaLiga giants, though that natural ability to sniff out a goal was clearly as potent as ever.
His poacher’s finish in the dying stages of El Clasico back in October would prove to be a fitting bookend to a spectacular goalscoring career.
After Aguero announced his retirement following a heart scare in one of his handful of Barcelona appearances, Joan Laporta and newly-appointed boss Xavi were left with the daunting prospect of having to replace one of the greatest goalscorers of all-time.
So, it’s a good job one of the greatest managers of all-time had shown them exactly how to do it.
Having to replace someone like Aguero is not only difficult given his immense quality and goal output, it’s also a mental challenge. The burden of being his ‘successor’ would likely be too much for a lot of strikers to handle, but Ferran had already shown he was up to the task.
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Some may argue that Barcelona are taking a risk in signing a 21-year-old for such a hefty sum to replace one of the greatest goalscorers of modern times, but the truth of the matter is they’re not taking a risk at all.
Ferran has already proved he can replace Aguero at City, now he’s just got to do the same at Barca.
Who would have thought it? Barcelona and calculated, sensible business. It just doesn’t seem right.