Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal: A chance to redeem himself?

Talib Haider
By Talib Haider
8 Min Read
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Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, and sometimes when it does, there’s no stopping! This stands true for the likes of Gabriel Jesus, as well…

A move to Manchester City in 2017, from Palmeiras, looked as if it was a mere formality signing that will help the team get a cover for the talisman in, Sergio Aguero. So, when Pep’s City made a move for the Brazilian #9, it was clear enough that Jesus was being looked at as an outright cover for Aguero. 

However, in some of the games, Pep was seen playing both of his number 9s. It might have worked, only if…

Before we talk about that, let’s talk about how Gabriel Jesus caught the attention of such a big team for a big money move.

Well, his superb run of form at Palmeiras, followed by Ronaldo’s (R9) appreciation of the young boy, earned him a big money move to City. “I’m a fan of Gabriel as I look at him and see myself when I was younger. I see many similarities between us.” Ronaldo told Globo TV.

And, all of it is true, because he was just amazing at the Brazil-based club. Over the course of his stay there, Jesus played in a total of 52 games, scoring 21 goals while assisting another 6. It is not too eye pleasing, but it is fair given good guidance under the right coach would just help him grow his talent. And who’s better than Pep, to do so?! 

Jesus was 20-year-old when he was unveiled at the Etihad, back in January 2017. He took the Premier League by storm! Signing in the mid-season/January window could prove to be a gamble, but in this case, it was looking like a gamble well worked out. The Brazilian played around 11 games of what was left of the 2016/17 season, and he showed his prowess by scoring 7 goals and assisting 5 more.

Pep Guardiola was left in awe of the 20-year-old Gabriel Jesus (now, 25). But, was it enough to get drawn to the comparison levels of the “El Fenomeno”?

JESUS’ – GOING WIDE

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To live up to that comparison, Gabriel Jesus got a chance from God to play for Brazil in the 2018 World Cup. History was begging to be repeated, as in the past almost every single number 9 had at least a goal to their name for the Selecao in the World Cup. So, Gabriel had to score a mere goal, to live up to that expectation. And, it should not be hard right?! Wrong.

No one knows what happened, maybe the pressure to live up to that “El Fenomeno” level got him, or was it a mere stroke of downfall? Some analysts are still trying to figure out what went wrong for Jesus- as the most hyped World Cup player, failed to register even a single goal in Brazil’s jersey. 

Tite (Brazilian Coach) asked the 21-year-old Jesus after the World Cup- Where do you want to play?” and the player’s reply was, was what is really shocking. “And somewhat sheepishly Gabriel Jesus said he’d rather play out wide.” This was the beginning of the end for Jesus as the outright number 9, and his so-called sheepish comparisons to Ronaldo. 

Although it did not change much for as long as his position in the Man City squad was concerned, the Brazilian was still considered as the second-fiddle to the Veteran Argentinean, in Aguero. But, Pep was seen using him from down the flanks, in most of the games. 

In the 19/20 season, Jesus was a real improved player. And it looked as if he had moved on from the World Cup blemishes. Many still believe that Aguero’s fitness issues helped him move into the squad, but it was something new to his game that he was also enjoying- and it was a lot more Freedom! The Brazilian played 53 games across all competitions, in that particular season, and looked like a proper goal-scoring as well as creating threat- with a G/A of 37 goals. 

But apart from this one season, he was nowhere near to what was expected of him! And in truth, it seems that those early comparisons to one of the greatest of the games, just succumbed to him asking a lot more from himself. 

A CHANCE ONCE AGAIN TO REDEEM? 

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The Gunners have almost completed Jesus’ signing. And it seems that the Brazilian will reunite with Mikel Arteta, as the Arsenal manager coached him during his stint at City as the Assistant to Pep Guardiola. Jesus had already expressed his gratitude and praise over Arteta, way back in 2019. So, this could be a match made in heaven for the Gunners. 

The 25-year-old Brazilian attacker was looking for pastures anew, as soon as Haaland’s deal was completed. And it makes sense for him to leave, in search of a better game time. Scoring over 95 goals, and winning trophies galore, his stay at City cannot be undermined just by the downfalls. Eyeing that, the Gunners have gone in for a complete swoop for the Sao Paulo-born player. 

As far as his future at the Emirates is concerned, it does not seem as if Arteta and Arsenal went all the way for his signing just to put him on the wings – where the squad is stacked with options. Jesus is a direct goal-scoring replacement for Aubameyang and Lacazette, both of whom have moved out. 

So, this could be an interesting marriage, dividing the fans over the 2 questions. Will Arteta be able to help Jesus reinvigorate his striker abilities before the Qatar World Cup? Or, will Tite have to resort to other striking options available to him? To conclude, this could help Jesus revamp his Ronaldo comparisons if he does bring the life to the attack for the Gunners. 

Arsenal are getting a top prospect in Gabriel Jesus, it’s about whether he can carry that on his shoulders and become a star…

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MUST READ: Profiling Arsenal target Gabriel Jesus: What will he bring to the Emirates?

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