As much as Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal would love to have Sergio Aguero in his squad, capturing his main rivals’ biggest asset is virtually unthinkable.
But the United coach could put the wheels in motion to facilitate the superstar leaving City by his dealings elsewhere.
There are of course lots of factors at play but if the Red Devils are shrewd in their transfer manoeuvres this summer, their neighbours could come under pressure to part with their star man.
One of Van Gaal’s own trump cards, goalkeeper David De Gea , looks to be top of the shopping list at Real Madrid. A bid from the Spanish giants for the prized shot stopper seems imminent. Much speculation had pointed towards United attempting to use this as leverage to lure Gareth Bale back to the Premiership after his turbulent second season at the Bernabeu.
Talk of Bale leaving seems to have cooled recently, and the Madrid press are suggesting that his team mate Karim Benzema is now the most likely makeweight in any De Gea deal.
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United are expected to be in the market for another striker after Radamel Falcao’s unsuccessful loan ended, Wayne Rooney returned a low goal tally and Robin Van Persie showed signs that his powers are on the wane. Should the Old Trafford outfit opt for, and be successful in acquiring Benzema, his current employers would need to repair a gaping hole in their forward line.
When Real Madrid find such a void in their squad, only a handful of players will do.
Aguero is a ready-made Galactico if ever there was one. He is already a global mega-star, and at 27 is in the prime of his career. He comes with a prolific scoring record, crowd pleasing skills and he even already has the tattoos and haircut.
The Argentine would also have few problems settling in, having spent five years already in Madrid with Atletico. His creativity, industry and comfort at operating anywhere in the final third would make him perfect foil for Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale. Those three as a strike force would be comparable to even the feared trio at Barcelona.
Manchester City, however, are about as far away from a selling club as it is possible to get.
The super-rich Etihad side can be boisterous in the transfer market without having to sell star players and Aguero is no doubt a key component of their plans to reclaim their lost league crown and finally make a sustained assault on the Champions League.
“Kun” may soon grow a little impatient, though.
He has now been in Manchester for four seasons and City have yet to get beyond the second round. He will also be conscious that this summer is likely to be one of transition in the blue half of Manchester and that his next potential transfer will be his last big move.
Should he decide that he wants to leave Eastlands, his employers would find it difficult to stop him, despite their vast financial muscle.
He perfectly fits the profile of Real’s signing policy and Los Merengues will be waiting to pounce at even the slightest hint of unrest, even though they have identified De Gea as the priority during this coming window.
So what of Benzema?
The Frenchman is the same age as Aguero but has already won everything possible in the white of Madrid. Throughout his time at the Bernabeu, Benzema has regularly been linked with the exit door especially when not assured of a starting spot.
Last season though, the former Lyon man played a key role and there seems little reason for him to want out at present with four years remaining on his contract.
Perhaps a chance to step out of the shadow of Ronaldo and seek a new challenge in the Premier League would be enough to tempt him.
It is unclear if United are even interested in the forward at this stage but if they were to make a move, involving De Gea or otherwise, it could pave the way for Madrid to identify Aguero as their next marquee signing.