Making definite conclusions on the subject would be both premature and immature but the early signs are promising and too prominent to be ignored.
He Came, He Saw, He Conquered
When Manchester City announced in August 2016 that one Gabriel Jesus will be arriving in January 2017 and for a significant fee of £27 million, not a few fans were left scratching their heads in confusion.
The Palmeiras rising star made quite an impression during his first – and single – senior season at Palmeiras, with his 16 goals in 47 league appearances only demonstrating a glimpse of his potential. But the Premier League world is not exactly used to lightweight Brazilian flames and the announcement of Gabriel Jesus somewhat went under the radar, thanks to more prominent dealings that went on during that time.
Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, knew exactly what he was doing.
With the current team not entirely constructed according to his own liking, Pep Guardiola used Gabriel Jesus as the benchmark signing. Few people however, and Pep Guardiola is among them, had expected such an instant influence and such an immediate impact from the 19-year-old boy.
Only two Premier League games in a Manchester City shirt were enough for Jesus to conquer the hearts of many – even those who do not hold Manchester City that close to their heart.
Numbers Don’t Lie but There’s Much More to the Boy
If we take his performance against West Ham to illustrate his influence, it will be quite enough to take a look at some of the numbers. Two shots on target, one goal and an assist are more than good enough for a newbie, who managed another assist during the total 188 minutes since his arrival.
Having scored on his first Premier League start for Manchester United and having claimed the Man of the Match award as well, Gabriel Jesus keeps getting wide-spread acclaim from all over the football community and stands at 8/13 betting odds to score again, in the forthcoming game for his team against Swansea.
The confidence he displays is compelling and indicative of a great player Jesus can become, whereas his fantastic runs off the ball and on it are enough to tickle the imagination of Manchester City fans.
The young forward is not a typical No. 9, which is exactly why Pep Guardiola rests so much hope in his talents. Jesus’ first-touch passes and movement in the final third have drawn comparisons with some of the legendary strikers in the game, whereas his aggression seems to be the logical consequence of the confidence and lack of fear.
Guardiola’s X Factor?
To put it simply and quite graphically, Gabriel Jesus is an improved version on Sergio Aguero.
Once crucial and pivotal member of the Manchester City squad, the diminutive Argentine has fallen out of favour with former Barcelona manager. Guardiola wanted Aguero to increase his energy without the ball and improve movement-rate in front of goal, which City striker did in a well-praised manner.
As a player who is considered a Manchester City legend, Sergio Aguero is wanted to stand up from his throne and shake off the dust of his shoulders, which he is grudgingly doing much to his own detriment.
What Gabriel Jesus offers is a more lateral movement and a direct approach towards going forward. He seems to be an updated version of Aguero’s predatory instincts with his touch of creativity, imagination and skill.
With Gabriel Jesus thriving in his early days at City, Pep Guardiola seems to be sending a hidden message to Sergio Aguero. The same one Zlatan Ibrahimovic received during his time at Barcelona and Yaya Toure as well, both of whom are well aware that Guardiola is a man for his choices.
In short, Gabriel Jesus is a long-term project with a momentary effect. A boy who is expected to be Manchester City’s future, together with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.
A bright future for sure.
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