Barcelona are reportedly ‘accelerating’ their interest in signing outgoing Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
The 32-year-old is set to move on this summer when his contract expires in June and has already received an offer from Juventus.
It is thought Aguero would prefer to move to Barca though, as it is his ‘dream’ to play with compatriot Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.
Spanish publication Sport report that Juve have approached Aguero’s representatives with the option of a two-year contract with an annual salary close to €10million.
They add that Barcelona have no intentions of matching Juve’s bid financially, instead hoping that the lure of Messi will convince Aguero to accept a lower offer as they ramp up their efforts to sign him.
Key to Barcelona’s approach is the new wage structure being put in place by recently elected president Joan Laporta to help the club balance the books and ease their mammoth debt.
Aguero would have to be prepared to fall in line with that structure, despite the fact this move will likely be the last big contract of his career.
He would still be paid handsomely by Barca of course, though club chiefs are keen to negotiate a deal dependant more on performance, given Aguero’s poor injury record, and won’t break the bank to sign him.
Barcelona are also looking to sign a striker more for the long-term, with Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez their two main targets.
But the availability of Aguero on a free transfer appeals to Ronald Koeman, who is keen to bolster his ranks with experienced stars while keeping within the limitations set out by the board.
And City boss Pep Guardiola has effectively given Aguero his blessing to join any of their rivals should he wish.
“The best for him, we wish – all of us. Find the best for Sergio for the last years in his career, for sure. We’ll be delighted with the decision he takes, the best for him and his family and his career,” Guardiola said.
“My preference is his preference. His preference is my preference. The best for him is the best for us.”