Gabriel Jesus was determined to leave Manchester City long before Haaland was announced by the club. Tottenham, Chelsea and even Real Madrid have made proposals. PSG and Barcelona showed interest. But the 25-year-old Brazilian went to Arsenal. Because? For two main reasons, which are connected: greater protagonism and the dream of being Brazil’s number 9 in the World Cup again.
Arsenal, City and Jesus have been negotiating for six months. The London club has always been ahead in the dispute for the striker. Nonetheless, Tottenham even made a strong move to take Gabrielwho preferred the Gunners. The Spurs then closed with another Brazilian forward: Richarlison.
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At Tottenham, Gabriel would have competition with Harry Kane, Son and Kulusevski and would be an option for all sectors of the attack. At Arsenal, he wore the number 9 shirt and will have the chance to be the centre-forward, a position where he wants to play.
– I’m number 9! I’m a striker. I can play in three or four different positions, but I think my position is 9. I’m a striker, I have to score goals, I come to score, to help with assists, with everything. I want to score goals – declared Gabriel Jesus.
Gabriel Jesus, upon arriving at Arsenal: “I am shirt 9” — Photo: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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Arsenal’s attack also has Saka, Marquinhos, Martinelli, Pépé and Nketiah, who should be the only one fighting for a center-forward position with Gabriel. The Brazilian spent five-and-a-half years as Pep Guardiola’s trusted asset for any attacking position. But he never got the spotlight he wanted.
Since joining Manchester City in January 2017, he has started 151 of the team’s 320 matches, less than half. In March, Gabriel was left out of a list of coach Tite in the Brazilian team for the first time at the coach’s option. This came after a streak as a reserve with the Cityzens.
Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City
The team has made 320 matches since the Brazilian’s arrival in January 2017
That must change in London. Jesus understands that at Arsenal he will have more minutes, something he was looking for in the short term, with an eye on the World Cup. And as shirt 9. Director Edu Gaspar and coach Mikel Arteta gave that confidence to the striker, who refused offers from teams qualified for the next Champions League – the Gunners are in the Europa League.
— We talked a few times about the club, about the players, about the project, the future. It was really good, it was amazing. I trust Mikel 100%, I had a really good time with him. He’s a really nice guy and a great coach too,” said the Brazilian about his future coach.
The leading role in the new team is also on the financial side. The ex-Palmeiras striker will receive 10 million pounds (R$ 64 million) tax free per season, Arsenal’s biggest salary. The amount paid by the Gunners to City, of 45 million pounds (R$ 289 million) is high for a player who had only one year left on his contract. Jesus is still the fifth biggest signing in the club’s history, and the 10th most expensive Brazilian.
Gabriel looked for more minutes, greater protagonism, opportunity as a striker and a good financial proposal in an environment where he wouldn’t need so much time to adapt. The striker saw all this at Arsenal.
Gabriel Jesus with his representatives after arriving at Arsenal: Paulo Pitombeira, Marcelo Pettinati and Cacá Ferrari — Photo: Personal archive