Football

United manager Solskjaer rules out move for Man City striker Aguero

United manager points to loyalty as reason; Red Devils set to offload de Gea

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he does not expect to see striker Sergio Aguero in his team's colours next season because of the Argentinian's decade-long association with cross-town rivals Manchester City.

Aguero, who has 257 goals in 384 appearances and has won four English Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups at City, is set to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

United are said to be in the hunt for a proven No. 9 due to the inconsistency of their forwards this season.

Marcus Rashford has scored 18 goals in 45 appearances, while Anthony Martial has seven in 36 games, Edinson Cavani has seven in 26 matches and Mason Greenwood has five in 39 games.

In the last two decades, the likes of goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, striker Andy Cole and midfielder Owen Hargreaves have made the switch to the blue half of Manchester, but the defection of Aguero's compatriot Carlos Tevez was arguably the most controversial of all.

Tevez spent two seasons on loan at United where he won one Champions League title, two league titles, one League Cup and the Club World Cup, before joining rivals City in 2009 and helping them clinch their first-ever EPL title in the 2011-12 season.

Solskjaer said he does not expect Aguero to follow in Tevez's footsteps.

"I wouldn't expect any player who has played for a club for 10 years to want to go to their local rivals," Solskjaer said ahead of United's EPL game with Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford this morning.

"I know we're professionals, but when you play for Man United, you don't go to Man City. We've had examples of that and I didn't really agree with it.

"When I played for Man United, if a rival club tried to sign me, and I had gone - well, where's the loyalty? Loyalty is one of the values I really, really put highly."

GOODBYE DE GEA?

Solskjaer also has a big decision to make at the other end of the pitch, with reports suggesting the Red Devils are ready to part company with long-serving goalkeeper David de Gea.

The 30-year-old has been United's first-choice custodian since his move from Atletico Madrid in 2011, but is set to become surplus to requirements with Dean Henderson believed to be United's No. 1 going forward.

While the English giants would prefer to sell de Gea, they expect the Spaniard's value at £50 million (S$93m) would put off prospective buyers in a market affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In light of that, United owners are said to be willing to pay off part of de Gea's remaining contract to reduce the wages spent on the club's five senior goalkeepers, which are at a staggering £570,000 (S$1 million) a week.

The Spain international has two years left on his £350,000-a-week deal and, as such, United must cough up a large slice of that £36.4m contract to get him off the wage bill.

Along with de Gea, who won United's Player of the Year award on four occasions, Sergio Romero is also expected to leave when his £70,000-a-week contract finishes this season.

Lee Grant and Joel Pereira are on £30,000 a week and £20,000 a week respectively and will also become free agents at the end of the season. - REUTERS

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