It felt like a sign of Manchester City's strength and confidence that they were willing to let Sergio Aguero go in the way that they did.

Having always said that the club record scorer could leave on his own terms, Pep Guardiola instead invited the Argentine into his office at the end of March and informed him that he would not be offered a new deal when his contract ran out at the end of the season.

Replacing Aguero has been on the radar of the club for years given both how important and prolific he has been for the side and the difficulties encountered in trying to move on from Vincent Kompany and David Silva leaving. Whoever comes in will have the unenviable task of being compared to one of the Premier League's greatest goalscorer at every turn as they try and settle into the side.

The timing of City's decision will make it even harder. An Aguero replacement will not be trying to fill his shoes while he sees out his career at his hometown club in Argentina but instead while he struts his stuff at Barcelona.

The 33-year-old failed in his efforts to prove his fitness at the Etihad over the past season but still feels he has enough to offer over a season that he can regularly perform at the top level. Barcelona, who have improved communication with City in recent months as relations have warmed, have clearly received enough indications from player and club to agree with that assessment.

City were confident enough in their transfer plans to let Aguero leave for free and join a rival, although there has been little cause for celebration in the three months since; Dortmund recovered their form to qualify for next season's Champions League and strengthen their position with Erling Haaland, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy remains adamant that Harry Kane will not be going, and there have been no other names mentioned to get the pulse of supporters racing like Aguero has for so many years.

Guardiola predicted what would happen when the club chose not to replace Kompany and it came true as the Blues were not steady enough at the back to sustain a title challenge and they endured arguably his most disappointing campaign out of the five in charge at the Etihad.

There will be enough pressure on the incoming striker to prove that they can take over from Aguero and fire City to more silverware - especially if the man himself finds his shooting boots again in Barcelona.

But the club have to give themselves every chance by getting the right man however arduous and costly the negotiations, rather than relying on the current squad to bail them out for a second successive season.