Sergio Aguero has become the third Manchester City player this week to sign a fresh five-year contract with the Barclays Premier League champions.
The club confirmed at the end of their ‘City Live’ season launch party that 26-year-old Argentina striker had signed a deal which would keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2019, joining captain Vincent Kompany and playmaker David Silva in doing so.
"The reality seems to be that ever since I came here, during every close season, there have always been rumors suggesting that I might be returning to Spain," Aguero said on www.mcfc.co.uk. "There has always been this speculation, but I certainly never pay much attention to it. People hear this stuff flying around and they take it seriously, but I can tell the fans and everyone at City to relax – I’m going to be here until I see out my contract."
Aguero joined City from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and quickly established himself as a fans’ favorite, writing his name into the club’s history books by scoring the dramatic title-clinching winner against QPR in his first season.
"Each year, I aim to better the previous one," he added. "Last season was incredible but I’m not just satisfied with two Premier League titles — I want more and I can achieve them here alongside my teammates. This club is special; the fans, the stadium, the staff, the atmosphere, the new facility we’re moving into – everything! We have enjoyed lots of success and some incredible moments, but the overall vision for the future and where we are going are the reasons why I wanted to stay here – to win trophies and to keep making history through my best years."
City manager Manuel Pellegrini spoke earlier in the evening of his ambition to add the Champions League trophy to the club’s growing collection of silverware. Pellegrini enjoyed a superb first season at the Etihad Stadium, winning both the Premier League and the Capital One Cup.
It was the club’s second league success in three years, while they also won the FA Cup in 2011. City are now preparing to begin a new campaign and making a mark in Europe is high on the agenda. Pellegrini, speaking after being named 2013-14 rookie of the year at ‘City Live’, said: "We won the title last year, but we need to win the title this year. We won two titles – the Capital One Cup and the Premier League, but I think there is space where we can put a third one – with two big ears. We are going to do our best to give you the same season this year."
City, who begin their title defense at Newcastle on Sunday, are again rated as favorites, with Chelsea also among the front-runners. Pellegrini is looking forward to the challenge. The Chilean said: "Four or five teams are very strong and will have better squads this year than last year. I think we will also have a better squad. We will not fear Chelsea or any other team."
City earlier on Thursday confirmed the exit of midfielder Javi Garcia to Zenit St. Petersburg on a four-year contract. The move, thought to be worth around £12 million, ends a two-year spell at the Etihad Stadium for the Spaniard, who joined from Benfica for £15.8 million. Playing for former Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas made the prospect of a move to Zenit particularly appealing to Garcia.
He told Zenit’s website: "I spoke to him on the phone several times. He is one of the main reasons why I came to St. Petersburg. Andre talked a lot about the project of the club and I believe that we can achieve a lot together."
Garcia, now 27, was signed by City under former manager Roberto Mancini but never became a regular starter for the Italian or his successor Pellegrini, and there seemed scant prospect of that changing in the new campaign. His departure follows the Â£10 million exit of fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell to Sunderland earlier this month.
City effectively have a replacement for Garcia in the squad, having signed Fernando from Porto in June. Eliaquim Mangala, Willy Caballero, Frank Lampard, Bruno Zuculini and Bacary Sagna are the other new faces in the champions’ squad. As well as Aguero, Kompany and Silva penning new five-year deals, Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov agreed fresh terms earlier this summer.
And striker Edin Dzeko, who is in the final year of his current deal, has suggested he could be the next to re-sign. The 28-year-old, signed from Wolfsburg for £27 million in 2011, has previously spoken of his desire to stay and now it seems negotiations with the club are progressing well.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international, who scored 26 goals last season, told German magazine Kicker: "We are currently talking about a new contract. It looks very good in terms of staying here a bit longer. I have been here for nearly four years now, and feel better and better. I will give my all to show what I can do. The second half of last season was the best I had in my entire time here and I want to draw on that.
"I want to get better every year, to score even more goals. I am 28 — my best time is now."