After missing out narrowly on the Champions League, Arsenal have shown an uncharacteristic trait by moving quickly in the transfer window.
The Gunners have already completed the singings of Marquinhos, Fabio Viera and Matt Turner while Gabriel Jesus is set to be their fourth summer signing and also the most high-profile of them all. The need for the latter was rather evident.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona in January while Alexandre Lacazette called it quits to his time at Arsenal last week, leaving an apparent need for striking reinforcements.
Arsenal were expected to sign at least two forwards this summer but the club chose to renew their faith with young Eddie Nketiah and offered him a new improved long-term deal.
Regardless, the Gunners still had to go for at least one attacking name and a certain Brazilian was identified as the ideal fit.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus is the player in question and the Gunners have finally gotten their man on a five-year deal, pending a medical.
Gabriel Jesus had one more year left on his current contract and it made sense for City to sell him now rather than lose him for free.
After holding out for excess of 50m, Arsenal and City eventually came to an agreement of £45m for the 25-year-old, who will be one of the highest earners at the London club.
City will use the funds to balance their books, after their £51m signing of Erling Haaland coupled with the imminent £45m capture of Kalvin Phillips from Leeds. The Citizens could also sell Raheem Sterling, amid strong interest from Chelsea.
Arsenal are still in search of a left back and possibly another midfielder but the signing of Jesus will probably excite the club’s fans the most. It gets even better that the Gunners beat fellow rivals Tottenham and Chelsea to his signature.
Gabriel Jesus will fit in properly at Arsenal
While the financial requirements from Manchester City remain under question, there is no question about how Jesus will fit in at Arsenal from a tactical standpoint.
Firstly, Arsenal will be getting a player with a decent goal-scoring record. Since joining City from Palmeiras in 2017, Jesus has scored a respectable 95 goals for the Citizens, while recording 37 assists from 210 appearances across all competitions. It is all the more impressive, given that he has mostly played as an under-study to Sergio Aguero.
In the just concluded campaign though, City were without a natural striker after missing out on Tottenham’s Harry Kane last summer.
Regardless, Gabriel Jesus was not a designated starter as Pep Guardiola trusted players like Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and even Kevin de Bruyne to feature as something of a false ‘9’ on several occasions.
Towards the end of the season, Guardiola started to play Jesus regularly when report broke of Arsenal’s interest in the player ahead of the summer. Indeed, the Brazilian showed his manager what he had been missing.
Jesus put up a five-star performance against Watford, where he bagged four goals and set up another. With that, he became the only Brazilian to score four goals in Premier League history.
He was chosen to lead the line again against Real Madrid in the Champions League and also got himself on the scoresheet. Building on his impressive form, he made the starting lineup against Leeds and scored again.
The Brazilian is in search of regular gametime and he will surely get that at Arsenal.
How Mikel Arteta can deploy Jesus in the Arsenal lineup
From a tactical point, Gabriel Jesus will give Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta the flexibility to tweak many formations, especially in attack. The Brazilian can play as a central forward, meaning he can be deployed alongside Eddie Nketiah. He can also play on either side of the flank as he does with City and national side Brazil, meaning he can flourish in several setups. His pace and dribbling ability will also suit Arteta’s style of play.
If he is deployed upfront, he will excel properly with the likes of Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka pulling the strings behind him.
Jesus will also adapt quickly at Arsenal, given that the Gunners have a Brazilian contingent of their own in Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli. Ironically, that will make him the third ‘Gabriel’ at Arsenal. To go with, the forward has a good relationship with Mikel Arteta, having worked with the Spaniard during his time as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City.
One thing is certain and it is the fact that Gabriel Jesus always delivers when he’s called upon. In fact, Gabriel Jesus has scored or assisted in 58% of his starts in the Premier League. Only three other players in Sergio Aguero, Mohamed Salah and Thierry Henry have managed more. It doesn’t get any better than that, speaking of an esteemed company for an attacker.
At 25, Arsenal will be getting a player hitting his peak and with many more years at the top level ahead of him.
Since joining City from Palmeiras in 2017, Gabriel Jesus has won 11 total trophies with the Citizens, including four Premier League titles.
In the just concluded campaign, he scored 13 goals while recording 12 assists from 41 appearances across all competitions.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.