Senior Manchester City officials were ‘wowed’ by Sergio Aguero’s performance against Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night and believe it is a sign that the striker is adapting to Pep Guardiola’s demands.
City’s decision makers have taken the position that Aguero will not be sold this summer, and hope that he will respond to Guardiola’s persistent reminders over recent months that he should improve his all-round game.
Aguero, however, suggested that his future at City was in doubt at the start of February, saying his employers will decide “if I have a place or not” at the end of the season, despite his own keen desire to stay.
That prompted City to state publicly that they have no intention of letting him leave, while Guardiola asserted that the Argentine knows he is wanted at the Etihad Stadium.
That failed to quash the suspicion that all is not well between Aguero and City, though, with the Argentine insisting after his man-of-the-match display on Wednesday night that he is yet to hear from the club about their intentions.
“I have three months to give my best and as I always said we will see in June,” he said. “It's one thing for the club to officially say it [that they want me to stay] and another thing to tell me."
Two of Aguero’s representatives, including Hernan Reguera, who met with the striker and Guardiola in a Manchester restaurant in January, were present at the Etihad on Wednesday night and spoke briefly with City sporting director Txiki Begiristain after the match.
It is not known if further talks were held regarding the position of either the club or the player.
It is understood, however, that key City figures have been impressed with the work-rate displayed by Aguero in recent matches, and that Wednesday's performance was epecially well received.
Aguero scored twice and laid on another as City beat Huddersfield 5-1 in the FA Cup on Wednesday but, crucially, also displayed increased work-rate and a desire to help his side regain possession.
Goal has previously reported that the hard-working Gabriel Jesus was signed to inspire better performances from Aguero, and City chiefs believe that decision is already paying dividends even with the Brazilian sidelined through injury.
Jesus had usurped Aguero in the pecking order following a fine start to life in the Premier League, but since returning to the line-up in place of Jesus the Argentine has started to produce the kind of form urged by Guardiola since the start of the season.
Aguero has scored four goals in his last two games and after impressing towards the end of City’s Champions League clash with Monaco last week he played sufficiently well against Huddersfield for Guardiola to hail his performance as "the best I have ever seen from Sergio".
With Jesus not guaranteed to return before the end of the season Guardiola will want Aguero to maintain those performance levels in the coming months, although senior sources believe his recent form is a sign that he is finally responding to the challenge.