Man City almost bought Ezquiel Lavezzi instead of Sergio Aguero, reveals ex-director of football
HOW different could the last ten years have been if Manchester City had signed Ezequiel Lavezzi instead?
In 2011, the Etihad club were looking at Napoli’s enigmatic forward as they feared another Argentine striker was off limits.
But chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak got the call from Atletico Madrid that City had waited more than two years for.
He had been told Sergio Aguero might be available – for the right price.
Brian Marwood, the director of football at the time, moved quickly to thrash out one of the most important deals in Prem history.
He recalled: "We already had Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli so we were after someone who would fit into that pool of forwards for Roberto Mancini. We’d been watching Sergio for a couple of years.
"He first came on to our radar when Mark Hughes was in charge but we didn’t think we could get him.
"So we’d been looking at Lavezzi. He played with Edinson Cavani at Napoli and was a good player.
"But Khaldoon had good relations with Atletico and once we were aware we could get Sergio, we had to move quickly.
"We just thought, 'Wow, this is a no brainer'."
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City had to fend off strong competition from some of Europe’s superpowers to get their man.
Marwood added: "Real Madrid and Juventus were pushing hard, so we had to get it done quickly.
"I have so much respect for people like Sergio because he could have gone to one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
"Yet he bought into the vision we sold to him.
And it was done quite quickly in the end – probably only two or three weeks after we started talking."
The rest, as they say, is history. And sadly for City fans, their all-time leading scorer will be consigned to the history books by the end of the month.
But what an incredible decade-worth of memories he leaves – 258 goals in 388 games is an astonishing ratio.
Aguero, 32, will pick up a fifth Premier League winners’ medal – to go with seven domestic cups – after making his final bow at the Etihad against Everton tomorrow.
Marwood said: "I smile when I look back now.
"We paid something like £37-£38million for him but the general reaction was it was shameful and we were ruining the game by paying such a fee.
"People were saying it was crazy money. We got caned for it.
"What are those people saying now, ten years on?
"And when you see the fees being paid these days, what would it cost to buy a forward like him at the age of 23?
"He’s been one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen, the club’s leading scorer.
"He scored the most famous goal in the history of the league. And he’s been worth every single penny."
City’s fans have got used to saying goodbye to their heroes in recent years – yet this one might be the hardest.
He is the last player standing from the squad that won City’s first Prem title in such dramatic fashion in 2012.
Marwood – now managing director for the City Football Group – added: "I saw him this week and despite everything he’s achieved he’s still the same guy we signed.
"He’s still so humble and just a very good human being.
"It’s easy to talk about players being world class – but that’s what Sergio is. He’s special."
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