Manchester City are prepared to allow club legend Sergio Aguero to decide his exit strategy. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP Photo

Manchester City are prepared to allow club legend Sergio Aguero to decide his exit strategy.

The Argentine reinforced his status as one of City’s all-time greats on Sunday, a hat-trick in the 6-1 win against Aston Villa seeing him overtake Thierry Henry to become the Premier League’s most prolific overseas goalscorer.

But, at the age of 31, there is a growing realisation that Aguero’s time at the Etihad Stadium is drawing to a close. The forward’s contract expires at the end of next season — when he will be approaching his 33rd birthday — and there is a sense that may be a natural moment for his departure.

Aguero has made clear his intention to rejoin boyhood club Independiente in Argentina when he leaves Manchester.

But, given his standing as one of the club’s iconic players, City chiefs are willing to let Aguero dictate his own exit and do not want to be seen preparing for it while he remains a central figure.

Behind the scenes, the process of identifying potential replacements for Aguero has begun, with Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez among the candidates sure to interest City.

However, out of respect to their all-time leading goalscorer, City chiefs are said to be reluctant to make concrete advances towards a move for a centre forward — instead reserving what is essentially special treatment for a player who is viewed as an institution by the club’s hierarchy.

Daily Mail