Since scoring a brace on his debut to eventually winning three Premier League titles, Sergio Aguero is not just a Manchester City legend, he is a bona fide Premier League legend – and there is no doubt that that is what he is. No matter what any opinion on the best ever foreign player may be, Aguero has undoubtedly deserved his place in any conversation of best ever foreign players to grace the Premier League’s history.
A clinical finisher, terrific on and off the ball, great in the air and a goalscoring record to rival anyone. At 146 goals and still only 30-years-old, he may surpass Thierry Henry’s tally of 176 and might even overtake Wayne Rooney at 208 if he stays in England for the next few years. Sergio Aguero is one of the key players behind Manchester City’s rise as English giants and perennial European contenders.
Sergio Aguero is Not The Premier League’s Greatest Foreign Player
Despite his undoubted natural ability, Aguero has missed 60 League games in his career so far in England. That is more than a season and a half of his seven years with City, not counting the ongoing season. Arguably, this has affected his case as the Premier League’s greatest ever import. While other candidates – Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Cristiano Ronaldo – were fit for a larger majority of their times in England. The most games Aguero has ever played in the League was 34, in his very first season in 2011/12.
Furthermore, Aguero’s argument is hurt by the fact that he has never won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award. His rivals, on the other hand, have. Thierry Henry won it twice, Dennis Bergkamp once and Ronaldo did it twice as well as winning the Ballon d’Or while at Manchester United in 2008. A lot like Michael Owen, Aguero simply hasn’t shown the consistent durability to be considered as the greatest to ever grace the Premier League.
When we talk about players who have influenced the Premier League, Manchester United’s early years come to mind. Eric Cantona was a swashbuckling sensation who took United to great heights. His aura alone was enough to cast a doubt in the opposition’s mind about their chances against him. Cantona revolutionised English football, Manchester United, the club’s culture as well as belief. He gave the club its arrogance back. Sergio Aguero, on the other hand, has never been a complete leader at City. He’s never been one to grab matches by the scruff of the neck and drag his team over the line.
When it comes to leaders, even at Manchester City, it could be argued that Vincent Kompany has played a bigger role than Aguero in his ten years at the club.
An Easier Era
In the 2008/09 season, Manchester United went 14 consecutive games without conceding. A feat like that now, with the league’s attacking riches, is almost inconceivable. Ten, and 15-20 years ago, Premier League defences were arguably much better drilled and prepared than nowadays. Steve Bould, Tony Adams and Martin Keown revolutionised defending at Arsenal. At Manchester United, Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister were rocks in defence in the early years.
With the influx of foreign money, the onus has always been on the managers to make a splash. That splash has more or less always meant to deliver attacking, attractive football and sign high-profile, skilful and flamboyant players. As the emphasis on defence has deteriorated, so has the quality of defenders. Therefore, it has become much easier for midfielders and forwards to create chances and score goals respectively.
The biggest reason why Aguero should not be in the conversation for the greatest ever is the achievements of others. There have been much better overall players to have graced the Premier League than Sergio Aguero.
The Argentinean has played in an era where City have dominated the league with their finances and quality of players. He thrives on people supplying him to finish, more so perhaps than Henry, Bergkamp or Ronaldo – who created as well as finished. Though Ronaldo’s stint in England was relatively short, his contribution was immense and left an indelible mark.
Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry started something at Arsenal that is still being taught at their academy 20 years later. Bergkamp could create and score while Henry could dribble past five and finish, score a tap-in and smash them in from 25-yards at will. Aguero could eclipse Henry’s goalscoring record in fewer games but the impact that the Frenchman had will always be unparalleled.
Other individuals who deserve a mention are Peter Schmeichel and Eric Cantona. As mentioned before, both players changed the direction of Manchester United as a football team and as a club. Schmeichel struck fear into the hearts of opposition strikers and was arguably the best keeper the League has ever seen. Cantona took on the role of a leader and led a team of youngsters to the promised land. There are simply too many things Sergio Aguero, as great as he is, is yet to accomplish as a Premier League legend.