Gabriel Jesus will set the Arsenal attack free, as Mikel Arteta’s ploy is likely to take their offensive unit to the next level.
A picture of Gabriel Jesus from 2014 painting the streets when Brazil hosted the world cup to sign for Arsenal is a wonderful story. A rags-to-riches story may be pretty common in sports, but the players that make it to the top of any sport still only represent 0.1% of the population.
Every story is unique, and Jesus is different from others. While we do not know much about his struggles, it will come out pretty soon, now that he will be playing for another big club in England, Arsenal. It’s a big, rare story in the life of a footballer to represent two major sides in his career, and the Brazilian has set his course.
Strangely Arsenal are not lauded enough for their capture of one of Manchester City’s key players from the Pep Guardiola era. Jesus may not have been their star man over the years, but his goals carry more importance to the team’s legacy than many tend to notice.
Astonishingly, in this market, where strikers are coming at a premium, Arsenal have acquired a top-quality player for a reasonable sum of £45 million. Liverpool paid around €100 for Darwin Nunez, Manchester City over £50 million plus the massive salary and agent fees for Erling Haaland.
⛅️ On Cloud No. 9
🔴 Welcome to Arsenal, Gabriel Jesus pic.twitter.com/kPgOx9uVZd
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 4, 2022
The Gunners are out there to break the recent dominance set by Man City and Liverpool at the top of the table. However, while they are ready to bring in quality players on board ahead of this season with the idea of breaking into the top-four, a signing such as Jesus may even help them come close to the very top of the pile.
Signing the Brazilian is a big step in the right direction for the Gunners, as the team is ready to explode to greater heights next season under Mikel Arteta. We take a look at what Jesus brings to the table and how he will be a massive improvement tactically for Arsenal in the seasons ahead.
Gabriel Jesus is a major upgrade for Arsenal’s forward line
A top team without a focal point will cripple them in multiple facets during games. Arsenal endured a similar story last season when their £100 million worth of forwards failed to help the team. Aubameyang showed a glimpse of what Arteta wants from his central striker in the North London Derby at the Emirates, but the Gabonese got largely ineffective after that.
Gabriel Jesus on Arsenal:
🗣 “I followed Arsenal when I was young because of [Thierry] Henry. Obviously I didn’t follow too many European teams but when I saw some of the players that played here, I was like “wow, this club is big.” pic.twitter.com/78tfVnoWz5
— Connor Humm (@TikiTakaConnor) July 4, 2022
Alexandre Lacazette had a safety net beacuse of his hard-working style, but the Frenchman was inept in the main role of a central striker, which was to score goals regularly. The concept of a false nine is often misinterpreted, as some consider the main functionality not to score goals but to facilitate them.
Lacazette did many important things but had a poor season for a centre-forward. The Frenchman is well known for dropping deep, battling with the centre-backs, and facilitating play for the wide attackers. However, over time, his gameplay became extremely predictable for defenders to thwart his threat rather easily.
Lacazette, despite his ability to bring wide attackers like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, never took on enough attacking responsibility to be a threat for the side. Instead, the Frenchman wanted to be the focal point, expecting the ball at his feet and only then would he do something with it.
Arsenal lacked the cutting edge in games because of the absence of a proper striker in their ranks, and that’s where Jesus comes in. At 25, the Brazilian is set to dedicate his prime years to the red & white shirt, much to Arteta’s joy.
Gabriel Jesus is key to Arteta’s technical football
Arteta has been superb with talent identification and continues targeting players that suit his system rather than going through the popularity route. In January, fans were unhappy when the club allowed Aubameyang to leave and failed to sign Alexander Isak.
⚽️ | Arsenal have signed a top #PL goalscorer in Gabriel Jesus.
How many goals will the Brazilian bag this season? pic.twitter.com/NHEncyNAHK
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) July 4, 2022
In recent windows, including the current one, Arsenal were linked to several tall, focal point forwards such as Isak, Tammy Abraham, Darwin Nunez and Gianluca Scamacca. Instead, they have signed a relatively short Brazilian, who has played second fiddle for most of his five years at Man City.
The likes of Harry Kane and Erling Haaland are strikers who could create magic with the ball. However, for Arsenal’s style, Jesus fits like a glove, for Arteta’s requirements, and for the reason of upgrading gradually with this team, the Brazilian is the right fit.
Signing Jesus does not mean Arsenal will start beating Manchester City and Liverpool next season. Instead, the Brazilian will help them get better against teams on the lower half of the table and help them by being the necessary outlet to nick an important goal in games of that nature.
More importantly, with Jesus, Arsenal are in a strong position to press, counter-press and pin the opposition in their area. In Guardiola’s own words, Jesus is one of the best pressing forward around. As a result, the Gunners will likely become a threat in transition and counter-attacks, and the former Man City star will be key to this style.
That may sound contrasting to Arteta’s style of a systematic build-up to create clear-cut chances, but making a lot out of pressing and counter-attacking styles is what big teams excel in. It gives them an alternate option apart from their original styles, and that’s what Arteta seeks from his team.
Where’s Gabriel Jesus’ best position?
A couple of weeks ago, South American football expert Tom Vickery commented on Jesus’ playing position. He mentioned the 25-year-old was not confident enough to play centre-forward and had even insisted on playing wide when Brazil coach Tite asked him for his preferred role.
🗣 "What are Arsenal buying? This needs to be very, very clear if they want to go ahead with this deal."@Tim_Vickery explains the importance of Arsenal understanding what type of player they are signing in Gabriel Jesus #AFC pic.twitter.com/kFMYoe9TNw
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 20, 2022
For context, there’s a difference between playing for Brazil and at the club level. The Selecao players will do anything to feature for the national side, and it’s a matter of pride to do the yellow shirt, as the idea of records and honours take secondary precedence.
Many pointed out that Guardiola never used him as an outright centre-forward, which somewhat supports Vickery’s theory. However, the Catalan manager also picked Jesus for the biggest of games each season, for there’s a quality that does not fall on the radar of many.
Jesus, in his interview after signing for Arsenal, clearly mentioned he prefers the No.9 position but also stated he’s capable of occupying 3-4 other roles in the final third. In reality, there’s either the central or wide role, and Jesus has shown his ability to perform brilliantly in both.
Like Guardiola, Arteta likes a fluid forward line of players who interchangeably with astute positional awareness. So it makes complete sense for Arsenal given their options in that front three, with Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Saka equally capable of taking up different positions in the attacking line.
Gabriel will bring a sense of urgency and goals to a side whose £100 million worth of strikers brought in 8-goals collectively. The Brazilian is expected to bring an upgrade on those stats. Together with Nketiah, the 25-year-old will be a shining light in this Gunners’ attack, who would drastically improve this front line.
Verdict: Gabriel Jesus is ready to lead Arsenal into the new era
If there was an era Arsenal fans want to forget, it starts with the final two years of Arsene Wenger’s era until Arteta’s appointment. The two and a half seasons under the Spaniard have been testing but bring a promising glimpse of the club’s immediate future.
47 – Gabriel Jesus has scored in 47 Premier League games and is yet to end on the losing side (W44 D3) – only James Milner (54) has netted in more games without ever losing in the competition’s history. Charm. pic.twitter.com/J01dbsqWNj
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 4, 2022
Last summer was the first time the club showed their true faith in Arteta’a project and decided to invest heavily in players who had plenty to prove. This time around, Arsenal are going for proven quantities, and the signing of Gabriel Jesus is just a start.
If there were any doubts over his starting position, Arsenal’s relentless search for a big-money wide attacker proves Arteta wants the Brazilian in the starting No.9 role. The fact that the Gunners are buying a four-time Premier League winner, who is only 25, showcases their true ambition and intent in this market.
Jesus has many attributes that help the team, while his flaws are something Arteta would like to iron out in the coming seasons. The Brazilian has just committed to a five-year contract and is set to dedicate his prime years to the club and Arteta’s progressive project.
Despite the chance of Champions League football elsewhere, Arteta proved the club has the pull to attract quality players, and the signing of Jesus is just the beginning. By the end of this transfer window, the manager will be hoping to have a solid squad, ready to break bread with the league’s elites.