Arsenal have announced the signing of striker Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City on a four-year contract, with the option for a further year. The deal is reported to be worth around £45m and will reportedly earn the player a weekly wage of £190,000-a-week. Jesus will wear the number 9 shirt, vacated by Alexandre Lacazette, who has joined former-club Lyon on a free transfer – though Arsenal fans will be hoping that he fairs a little better than the previous owner’s of the number.
Arsenal submitted their first bid on the 16th of June, an offer believed to be in the region of around £30m, however, the bid was rejected out of hand. However, City soon realised that their demands were far too exorbitant for a player entering the final year of his contract and lowered their asking price by as much as £10m.
For their part, Arsenal always remained quietly confident and eventually struck a deal with Manchester City on the 24th of June and formally agreed personal terms with the player and his agent, Marcelo Pettinati, over the weekend, the player flew in for his medical on the 28th.
Jesus was courted by at least six clubs over the course of the summer. It is known that Chelsea, Juventus, Real Madrid and Tottenham were keen on the player, while Paris Saint-Germain were also keeping tabs on the situation. However, Jesus’ priority had always been to join Arsenal.
Following the departures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal had a gap to fill in their squad. Eddie Nketiah covered himself in glory at the end of last season (a run of form that also saw him rewarded with a new five-year contract), but Arsenal knew they needed another striker.
The January window was a source of immense frustration for Arsenal and their fans. Weeks of chasing Fiorentina’s Dušan Vlahović eventually ended in heartbreak and the Gunners were unable to close a deal for any other striker.
As a result, Arsenal began to evaluate their targets in earnest. Eventually, the club managed to whittle down their list of targets to a few names. While the likes of Lautaro Martínez, Gianluca Scamacca, Victor Osimhen and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were touted, Arsenal ultimately wanted a player with Premier League experience and who has, ideally, played in a high-pressing system.
Jesus has of course played under the watchful eye of Mikel Arteta while the latter was Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager at Manchester City and will be well aware of the role the Spaniard wishes for him to adopt.
Beginning his career in Brazil with Palmeiras, he eventually secured a move to Manchester City in August 2016, for a £27m fee. Jesus’ time at Manchester City has resulted in a lot of rotated game time, however, given the calibre of squad that Pep Guardiola has at his disposal, plus the form of Sergio Agüero in his time with the club, it’s unsurprising why Jesus has found game time limited.
That’s not to say that Jesus has not been useful to City. He did, after all, grab the goal that secured them a place in the history books as being the Premier League’s first 100-point winners and last season he produced a mesmeric display to batter Watford, netting four goals in the process.
Jesus’ positional versatility is an immense asset for him to have. He is generally best when operating out wide, but has been deployed through the middle multiple times. Capable of playing either as a deep-lying forward or as a false-nine, Jesus is a younger, more athletic and more prolific striker than the departing Alexandre Lacazette.
Though his goal-scoring record is hardly the stuff Arsenal fans’ dreams are made of, the other aspects of Jesus’ game are thought to be more appealing to Arteta.
Guardiola and Brazil national coach Tite both regard Jesus as one of the best pressing forwards in world-football and has been described by Manchester City fans as being a “pressing machine”.
Given Mikel Arteta’s tactical gameplan tends to revolve around a high-press (where the strikers press opposition defenders in the hope of winning th eball back further up the pitch), Jesus is a perfect addition to the team.
Jesus is the club’s second major deal of the window, after completing a deal for FC Porto attacking midfielder, Fábio Vieira. While Matt Turner has joined from new England Revolution, Auston Trusty has completed his move from the Colorado Rapids and Marquinhos has completed his protracted move from São Paulo, Arsenal can now focus on other areas of the market.
However, Arsenal’s transfer business is not concluded yet. The club will now turn their attentions to Ajax’s Lisandro Martínez as they look to fend off late competition from Manchester United, while a deal for Youri Tielemans at Leicester City still remains a possibility as well.