Arsenal’s pursuit of a new striker could soon reach its conclusion as there’s a strong indication that a deal for Gabriel Jesus will be wrapped up soon.
The Gunners have been handed a massive boost this week with football.london reporting that north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur – also linked with a move for the Manchester City forward – have not made a bid and furthermore have no plans to do so despite being huge admirers of the 25-year-old.
So with Arsenal in the driving seat to complete a transfer for around £50m for Gabriel Jesus, South American football expert Tim Vickery did raise an interesting discussion point regarding the Brazil international and what would be his best role under Mikel Arteta next season.
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This is in relation to Gabriel Jesus rarely being used as a centre-forward following a disappointing World Cup four years ago – something that still bothers him to this day – and Vickery feels it’s important the Gunners make it clear as to what they are buying if they seal this move.
“He was Brazil’s centre-forward in Russia four years ago,” Vickery said on Sky Sports. “And he didn’t score a goal. That’s a trauma for him to this day. Ever since then, there has been this question mark. ‘What are you? Are you a centre-forward, or do you want to play wide?’. I had a chat about him with Brazil’s coach, who said after the World Cup, he asked Gabriel Jesus, ‘where do you want to play?’.
“Jesus said, ‘I don’t mind’. The coach said, ‘well, clearly you do mind. Clearly, you have a preference. Tell me where it is that you want to play?’. And he said a little bit sheepishly, ‘I would rather go wide’. And since then, Brazil hasn’t really used him as a centre-forward.
“There has been a sense that he has been running away from that centre-forward position and perhaps running away from comparisons with Aguero as well. So, what are Arsenal buying? This needs to be very, very clear. What are they buying? Where is he going to play? And where he is going to fit into their system of play? You do wonder if he lacks penalty area presence.”
Whilst Vickery did raise some good points. It’s safe to say that Arteta has already answered the question as considering links to Raphinha as well as being well-stocked in the wide areas, it’s quite clear that Gabriel Jesus will predominantly be used as a centre-forward if he does join Arsenal this summer.
In terms of how the Brazilian would fit into the Gunners’ system of play, well, Arteta has answered that too when highlighting his dream striker: “He puts the ball in the net, that’s priority number one,” he said. “Goal threat. Any successful team needs enough goal threat in the squad. Without it, you have nothing. You can play good football, but you need enough goal threat in the team.
“The other thing is that he has to complement the other people we have, personally and on the pitch, and for that, we need the right profile. We need a profile where you can exploit his qualities at the same time as the qualities we already have, so we don’t have to transform our way of playing again to adapt to that specific player.
“He has to have a certain age, a certain level of experience, and he has to be able to come here and play under the pressure of being at Arsenal.”
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