Arsenal just completed a massive $55 million move for 25-year-old Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus. The move is a bold one. However, it is also one that fits perfectly with the young, exciting soccer team manager Mikel Arteta is building in North London.
Arsenal just signed Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus for $55 million
Arsenal manager Mikal Arteta spent much of the 2020-21 Premier League season giving young players as much playing time as possible. This was an investment in the club’s long-term future.
Despite this youth movement, Arsenal finished a respectable fifth in the Premier League. They pushed North London rival Tottenham Hotspur for the last Champions League spot until the season’s final days. And Arsenal still came away with a Europa League spot for next season.
Now, the club is starting its summer transfer moves by signing a dynamic young striker from Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus. Arsenal will pay City a $55 million (£45m) transfer fee for his servcies.
The 25-year-old Brazilian spent his first four seasons at City, backing up the legendary Sergio Agüero. Still, the 5-foot-9, 161-pound forward managed 82 goals and 43 assists in a limited role.
This past season, Jesus couldn’t seem to solidify the No. 9 role for Pep Guardiola’s side, despite Agüero leaving for Barcelona (then ultimately retiring due to a heart condition). He had 13 goals and 12 assists in 37 appearances in all competitions this season. Guardiola often employed a False 9, though, instead of relying on Jesus.
This offseason, Manchester City signed 21-year-old budding superstar Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund for $66 million to be the club’s center-forward of the future. The club also made an $18.7 million swoop for 22-year-old River Plate attacker Julián Álvarez. These moves left Jesus as the odd man out.
With Jesus on the market, his former assistant manager at City, Mikel Arteta, made the striker a top priority for his Arsenal side this summer.
Arteta knows Jesus well. The two spent three and a half seasons together on the blue side of Manchester. And the 40-year-old manager also knows that a young talent like Jesus will fit perfectly with his up-and-coming squad.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is reshaping the club as a young, dynamic force in the Premier League
Former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta became the manager of his former Club in 2019. At that point, the roster was a mess. It was filled with a mix of players from the last days of the Arsène Wenger era and the failed Unai Emery era.
Aging players like David Luiz, Sokratis, Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Alexandre Lacazette filled the top of the roster, blocking the path for talented youngsters to break through.
In the past two and a half seasons, Arteta, who learned at the right hand of Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola before taking over at Arsenal, has worked to reconstruct the roster into a younger, more athletic, more dynamic group capable of playing his style.
That Arteta style is a mix of two of his mentor’s philosophies. Arteta wants an offense-first entertaining style like Wagner with some of the ticky-taka elements he played with for Spain and Barcelona and coached with under Guardiola.
Arsenal has since shipped out all the veteran players mentioned above to build this new-look team. Lacazette is the last one out, moving to Lyon in July.
This has freed up room for the next generation of Arsenal players to get much more playing time.
During the 2021-22 season, of the 11 players with the most appearances, only Lacazette (31) and Granit Xhaka (29) were over 24.
The other nine who played most frequently under Arteta were Bukayo Saka (20), Martin Ødegaard (23), Gabriel (24), Aaron Ramsdale (24), Emile Smith Rowe (21), Ben White (24), Gabriel Martinelli (21), Nuno Tavares (22), and Eddie Nketiah (23).
Jesus fits right into that ix and will likely start in the No. 9 role from day one, making Arsenal a true top-four contender in 2022-23.
All stats courtesy of Transfermrkt