Pep Guardiola has dampened speculation surrounding Sergio Aguero's future at Manchester City and insists he is happy with the Argentine forward. New arrival Gabriel Jesus was preferred over Aguero, who has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, by Guardiola for City's win over West Ham United on 1 February, with questions over the forward's future refusing to go away.
Despite the uncertainty Aguero has still notched 11 goals in just 14 Premier League starts this season. Guardiola says he has "no doubts" about the 28-year-old's ability and believes he is still one of City's most important players.
"I understand the debate but there is no doubt about the quality of Sergio," Guardiola said in his press conference, as reported by The Independent. "I can say how happy I am with what he did – except the seven games when he was banned. The big clubs in Europe always have a lot of strikers and there have been [many] at this club too - [Mario] Balotelli, [Carlos] Tevez, Sergio, [Edin] Dzeko – all together. Big clubs need a lot of strikers.
"Sergio remains the most, or one of the most, important players in our squad. Without him it will not be possible. This guy [Gabriel Jesus] arrives, he played good. That's why he was playing but they can play together. Gabriel can play on the left. Now I have many options up front."
Jesus has made a very exciting start to his City career and could well give Guardiola's men a welcome shot in the arm towards the tail-end of the season. The teenager is certainly making an impression in Manchester, but Guardiola believes he has a lot to work on.
"He's 19 but he's settled quickly," added Guardiola. "He speaks enough English words to understand us but he's taking lessons every single day. That means a lot for us. In the three games he's played he's shown a lot in terms of desire, helped us with high-pressing intensity, his movements in the box.
"Even when he comes in the middle to play, he has the ability to share the ball with his teammates so we are happy with him – but there's a lot to improve."