Liverpool have had a number of world-class strikers in the past but it seems as though they could have had yet another.
Rafa Benitez and Sergio Aguero will be on opposite sides tonight when Newcastle clash with Manchester City at St. James’ Park but the pair came close to working together while Benitez was manager of the Reds.
The Argentine arrived in England in 2011 when City splashed £38 million on the striker but he was close to signing for the Reds ten years ago, before joining Atletico Madrid.
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Benitez had joined the Merseysiders the previous season and led to the club to an incredible Champions League victory when Argentinian club Independiente offered him their star man.
The Spanish boss admitted that he was aware of Aguero’s quality, who was then only 17-years-old, but wasn’t willing to spend £18 million on him - the fee Atleti coughed up.
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"I was Liverpool manager and they offered him to us as a young player for big, big money. He signed for Atletico Madrid,” Benitez told reporters, per the Daily Mail.
"He was a player that we knew. We were following him. We knew he was a very good player.
"I also have a good relationship with Sergio.
"Hopefully he can score a lot of goals in the Champions League but not against us. To stop him it’s not just about one player, you have to work as a team,” he added.
Regretting Benitez's decision
Liverpool fans must now be wishing their manager had taken a chance on the relatively unknown youngster.
Five years later, he arrived in the Premier League and has scored an incredible 133 goals in 202 appearances for Manchester City.
Instead of taking the chance on Aguero, Benitez spent £7m on Peter Crouch, £11.5m on Ryan Babel and £19m on Robbie Keane during his time at the club - three attacking players that did very little to repay their transfer fee.
Despite winning the Champions League in his debut season and the FA Cup the following year, Benitez was dismissed from Anfield after six seasons.
During the 2008/09 campaign, his Liverpool side achieved a second-place finish, just four points behind title winners Manchester United. Fernando Torres was irresistible in that season but the addition of Aguero would surely have seen Benitez lead his side to glory.
No PFA recognition
Aguero’s three goals against Chelsea last weekend meant he has now scored 21 goals in 26 appearances this season. However, that goalscoring record wasn’t enough to see him named as one of the six nominees for PFA Player of the Year.
In fact, the superstar has never even been named in the PFA Team of the Year - something which is quite extraordinary and his manager, Manuel Pellegrini, believes he deserves more recognition.
"He is the best striker of this league, he's a very important player, it's strange that in so many years he's played here he's not the best player of the league,” he told Sky Sports.
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