PEP GUARDIOLA TRIED in vain to persuade Vincent Kompany to spend one more season with Manchester City.
Kompany ended an 11-year association with the club by captaining them to an unprecedented domestic treble in England last season.
The 33-year-old Belgium defender netted an unforgettable long-range effort to seal a pivotal 1-0 win over Leicester City in what would prove to be his final competitive appearance at the Etihad Stadium, with Guardiola’s men going on to pip Liverpool to the Premier League title by a point.
It has been a different story this time around, with City falling way off the pace set by the Reds.
Their defence has been shaky in the injury absence of Aymeric Laporte and, if Guardiola had his way, Kompany would still be an option for him at centre-back rather than player-manager of Anderlecht.
“I tried to convince Vincent a lot to stay one more year with us,” he said ahead of Friday’s trip to Wolves.
“When those guys take a decision it is already taken.”
Guardiola made reference to Kompany when discussing City’s preparations for life after two other long-serving club greats.
David Silva has already announced this season will be his last in Manchester, while Sergio Aguero is out of contract in 2021 and has frequently expressed a desire to end his career back in Argentina with boyhood club Independiente.
Aguero is City’s all-time top scorer and famously struck in stoppage time to snatch their first league title for 44 years on the final day of the 2011-12 – a moment atop many of this week’s end-of-decade lists.
“I think Sergio is irreplaceable,” Guardiola said. “We have an incredible striker in Gabriel [Jesus] and maybe another one will come when Sergio is leaving. But he is irreplaceable.
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“That moment is much better than four titles in one season or whatever. And he was the guy.”