Gabriel Jesus at Arsenal: What to expect?

As Arsenal are set to announce the signing of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City, we look to what the striker can add to Mikel Arteta’s squad. Gabriel has agreed to a five-year deal with the Gunners that will see him – if all goes well- stay in London until 2027. 

What can Gabriel Jesus already add to Arsenal? 

Born in 1997, Gabriel Jesus is 25 years old but has plenty of experience already. At the age of 21, he was Brazil’s main striker in the World Cup played in Russia in 2018. He also has many honours to his name in England with Manchester City and Palmeiras, where he first appeared to the footballing world in Brazil. 

In 2016, he scored 13 goals and made four assists in a campaign which saw Palmeiras lift the Brazilian First Division Trophy. That season, he was also named the Player of The year, at the age of 18. Although he may have aspects of his game that he has to improve, it is clear that Arsenal is getting a still young striker that getting to his prime age, but also with experience in high-pressure situations. 

When he signed from Palmeiras to Manchester City for 32 million euros in January of 2017, Gabriel took Agüero’s spot in Pep’s team straight away. That season with City, Gabriel played in 11 games, scoring seven and assisting five goals. His minute-per-goal involvement that season also got many people’s attention. Scoring or assisting every 62 minutes that he was on the pitch. 

The following season, his numbers dropped a bit, playing 42 games, scoring 17 times and assisting five. He stayed as one of Guardiola’s main man because of other sides to his game that added to City’s style of play. One of the main characteristics that have seen him get a lot of praise from coaches like Pep and Tite, the Brazilians National Team manager, is his pressing. Earlier this year, Guardiola commented on Gabriel’s lead of the press that Manchester City does.

 

“He can play in the three positions up front, and when we need players who can help a lot, he’s the best in the world (with him) we can be so aggressive, we can get extra rhythm for midfield players, can stay high.”

 

Not only that but also his versatility up front can be helpful to Arsenal’s style of play. Gabriel can play on the right or left-wing and as a centre-forward. His positioning, pace and ability to link up the play make him a well-rounded player. 

Arteta has previously praised Lacazette for ‘making people around him better. And that is definitely something that Jesus has. His pressing and linking up the play will see him combining well with Saka, Martinelli and others (Raphinha?). 

Questions that Jesus has to answer at Arsenal 

After 5 years at City and 11 trophies, Gabriel will be looking to further prove himself at Arsenal and cement his spot at the World Cup in 2022 with Brazil. In that time, Jesus hit the 20-goal mark only once. That was in the 2019-20 season when he scored 23 goals and had 14 assists in 53 games. Meaning that he contributed with a goal or an assist every 89 minutes that he was on the pitch. 

 

Being more of a goal threat is definitely something that Gabriel has to become at Arsenal if this signing is going to succeed. But, being only 25, is something that the Gunners are comfortable with ‘gambling’ on. At the Emirates, Gabriel will also have a bigger and more important role on the team. That could make him relish the challenge and improve as a player. 

The price tag could also be one argument. Paying 45 million pounds for a player that is in the last year of his contract is no small fee. So can Gabriel become the star that he was poised to be when he left Palmeiras as one of the most promising youngsters of Brazil’s generation? That is a question that Jesus will have to answer at Arsenal. 

Jesus ‘mixed’ reputation in Brazil 

Despite being Brazilian’s striker and number 9 in the 2018 World Cup, Gabriel Jesus was seen as one of the main reasons for the ‘Seleção’ shortcomings in Russia. His lack of goals was heavily criticised And became a ‘joke’ for his pressing. Many called him a ‘defender’ and joked about him focussing on ‘tracking down’ full-backs instead of scoring.

In that tournament, he didn’t score and left with only one assist, even though he started every game and was substituted twice. Since then, Jesus remained in Tite’s plans and hasn’t missed many call-ups for the national team. 

Back in October of 2021, Gabriel Jesus spoke out for the first time about his World Cup performances and the criticism of Brazilians. 

“From the fan’s perspective, the criticism of my performances in 2018 is understandable. What I can do is work and look to evolve. I hope to do my best to get closer to playing another World Cup and that this time will be different”.

The verdict

Gabriel Jesus will definitely be a great addition to this young Arsenal squad. However, he has to step up from previous seasons and be ‘the player ‘ for The Gunners and Mikel Arteta.

Leave a Reply