There had never been a moment like it, and there probably never will be again.
We’re all familiar with the scene by now, nearly a decade after the fact – 93 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock in the final game of the season, a first ever Premier League title for Manchester City hanging by a thread, the Etihad basking in the golden glow of an early summer sun.
Manchester United had done all they could to derail their noisy neighbours’ party, and were stood on the pitch at the Stadium of Light nervously waiting for news of a final whistle from the north west, having just beaten Sunderland 1-0 themselves.
What followed in the seconds after would become one of the most iconic moments of the Premier League era.
Sergio Aguero, the razor sharp poster boy of this new City dynasty, rifles a shot into the back of the QPR net to put Roberto Mancini’s side ahead, sparking wild jubilation in the stands, abject misery on Wearside, and of course, that guttural roar from Martin Tyler in the gantry.
It’s a series of events that have been replayed countless times already, and we’re likely to see them countless more in the coming weeks and months after it was confirmed on Monday evening that Aguero will be leaving City when his current contract expires at the end of the season.
The Argentine has woven himself into the very fabric of the club since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, and will surely be remembered as a near-mythological figure in the lore of this new, glittering age in City’s history.
But what next for the striker, and where does he go from here?
We’ve taken a look at Aguero’s next move, as well as some of the leading candidates to replace him at the Etihad…
How many goals has Aguero scored for Manchester City?
It would remiss to reflect on Aguero’s time at City without first looking at the thing that he will be remembered most fondly for.
During his time in the Premier League, the Argentine has arguably been the most lethal goalscorer in the division, and his stats certainly make for impressive reading.
The 32-year-old has hit 257 goals in 384 appearances for City in all competitions, 181 of which have come in the top flight.
That tally makes him the fourth-highest scorer in Premier League history, behind only Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, and Andy Cole.
Cole is just six goals ahead of Aguero in the standings, but with just eight games left to play this term, is it too much to ask for the South American to leapfrog him into third? Never say never.
Aguero’s goals have brought him his fair share of silverware in Manchester too.
The striker has won four – soon to be five – league titles, five League Cups, one FA Cup, and bagged himself a golden boot in 2014/15.
The one trophy that has eluded him up to this point has been the Champions League, but with City going strong in the competition this term, could he be in line for a fairytale send-off? Supporters would love nothing more than to see him lift the biggest prize of all before he bows out of the club.
Where is Aguero going? Who will his next club be? What are the odds?
At the moment, there are no concrete indications on where Aguero will be going after he leaves Man City, but he certainly won’t be short of options.
Barcelona have already emerged as the bookies’ favourite to snap up the hitman, and his close friendship with talisman Lionel Messi is only likely to pour fuel on those rumours.
A return to Atletico Madrid could be on the cards too. Aguero scored more than 100 goals over five seasons in Madrid, and Diego Simeone isn’t averse to bringing high-profile forwards back to the club, having engineered similar deals for Fernando Torres and Diego Costa in the recent past.
Of course, other European powerhouses like PSG and Juventus are also likely to be in the mix, with the French champions boasting an Argentine manager in Mauricio Pochettino, as well as fellow countrymen Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria to boot. Safe to say they’re not short of a bob or two either.
The romantic option, however, could be for Aguero to return to his first ever club, Independiente.
The forward only spent two years in the first team for his boyhood side before making his big money move to Europe, and what better way of tying a ribbon on his illustrious career than by heading back to where it all began?
William Hill odds: Barcelona 8/11; Independiente 6/1; Atletico Madrid 7/1; Juventus 8/1; PSG 12/1; Any MLS club 16/1; Man United 16/1
Who are the options to replace Aguero at Manchester City?
At the moment, all the speculation would suggest that there are three leading candidates to reinforce City’s frontline when Aguero does leave at the end of the campaign.
First up is Danny Ings, the Southampton striker who has been making waves on the south coast in recent seasons.
Probably the least eye-catching of the trio, the 28-year-old still has 42 goals in 92 games for the Saints, and had his previous crack at the big time – a chequered Liverpool – blighted by a series of lengthy injury absences.
Another Englishman who could be in the frame is Harry Kane.
The Tottenham striker is not getting any younger, and is still yet to lift a trophy with his boyhood club at the age of 27.
With Spurs looking as if they could go without Champions League football again next season, could he be tempted by a move to the Etihad?
Perhaps the most exciting name on City’s apparent shortlist is that of Erling Haaland.
The Borussia Dortmund striker is only 20, but has already established himself as a monstrous presence on the global scene.
The youngster has 49 goals in 49 games for the Bundesliga giants, and 98 strikes in 143 career outings overall.
What’s more, he seems to be getting better and better with every passing season, and has strong links with City already by virtue of the fact that his father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played for the club.