UPDATED: Barcelona reaches deal with Aguero to boost team's attack

AP , Monday 31 May 2021

Barcelona said Aguero will be with the club beginning on July 1, after his contract with Manchester City expires

Sergio Aguero

After a decade of success in the Premier League, Sergio Aguero is returning to Spain to try to help Barcelona get back on track.

The Catalan club announced on Monday that it reached an agreement to sign Aguero on a two-year deal. The Argentina striker will officially join Barcelona on a free transfer on July 1, after his contract with Manchester City expires.

He will sign a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season with a buyout clause set at 100 million euros ($122 million).

``We all know that Barca is the best team in the world, so it's a good decision to be here,'' Aguero said. ``Hopefully I'll be able to help the team. I'm very happy.''

The 32-year-old Aguero was set to be introduced by Barcelona later on Monday. Spanish media said he underwent a medical in the morning. He was plagued by fitness issues throughout his final season with City and had to undergo knee surgery last year.

Barcelona's only title this season came in the Copa del Rey, and finished trophyless in the previous one, when the club was marred by political turmoil and financial difficulties.

Barcelona missed an experienced true striker like Aguero after it let go Luis Suarez, who eventually helped lead Atletico Madrid to the Spanish league title. Lionel Messi still thrived as usual for Barcelona, finishing as the Spanish league's top scorer with 30 goals, but he got little help from teammates such as Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, Ansu Fati and Francisco Trincao.

Griezmann was the second highest scorer for Barcelona in the league, with 13 goals. Dembele was next with six. Suarez, who missed time because of injuries and the coronavirus, scored 21 goals for Atletico, including the title-clincher in the last round.

Aguero played for Atletico for five seasons before moving to Man City in 2011-12, helping Barcelona's Spanish league rival win the 2010 Europa League and the 2011 UEFA Super Cup.

``When I arrived in Europe as an 18-year-old with Atletico Madrid, it was a learning experience, the club helped me a lot,'' Aguero said. ``I've changed the way I play since then. I'm a more established player now.''

He spent 10 seasons in England, becoming City's record scorer with 260 goals and one of its greatest-ever players. In was at the end of his first season with City that he scored the dramatic stoppage-time winner against Queens Park Rangers in the final game of the season to clinch the title for the club.

Aguero was with Argentina's under-20 World Cup winning squads in 2005 and 2007, as well as in the national team that won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008, alongside Messi.

It still remains unclear whether Messi will stay with Barcelona after having his request to leave denied last season. His contract ends now but he has yet to announce his decision. It's also unknown if coach Ronald Koeman will return to finish his contract.

Other possible signings being talked about for Barcelona include Eric Garcia, Aguero' teammate at Man City, as well as Memphis Depay of Lyon and Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool.

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