It’s rather interesting that a player, that was brought in as a striker to replace Sergio Aguero, was in the squad last season, yet there was so much talk of Manchester City playing without a striker.
Gabriel Jesus was expected by many to be the heir to Aguero’s throne. If he didn’t replicate the Argentine’s numbers in a City shirt he should at least come close. After all, he had learnt from the best.
That was the expectation.
Except that things don’t usually pan out as expected. Back to reality. Jesus didn’t come close to replicating the legend’s numbers for the club. He did his best. But was it good enough?
To have spent six years playing for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, as demanding as he is, says a lot. The team has been very successful in that period of time and Jesus has contributed his fair share to that success.
His most recent contributions were crucial goals against Chelsea and Liverpool last season that helped City on the road to retaining the Premier League title.
But one of his most memorable contributions was the late winner against Southampton in 2018 which secured 100 points for Manchester City. That put the club in the history books as the only club side in English football history to hit the 100-point mark in a campaign.
For the record, Jesus is not leaving Man City because he is not good enough. Far from it. He has been one of Guardiola’s most trusted players for the better part of six years.
He has been particularly a reliable option in the club’s most important games in the last few years. His intelligent and vigorous pressing on the opposition’s defence usually sets the tempo for the team. He implements Guardiola’s style to the letter.
But as a result of competition for places in the team, the Brazilian started just 21 Premier League games last season. He chipped in eight goals and the same number of assists to help the team lift the title with a single point advantage over Liverpool.
His overall record stands at 95 goals and 46 assists in 236 appearances for City. Not a bad return for a forward who spent his last two campaigns operating from the wings. He leaves the Etihad Stadium as a Guardiola and Man City thoroughbred, and at the peak of his career at 25.
He would have most likely produced bigger moments in a City shirt if he stuck around longer. But how can he when the club just added two top quality forwards that will lead to a further reduction in playing time? So, at this moment, it’s the right decision for all parties involved.
The Brazilian was already seeking more playing time to boost his chances with his national team. So there was only one way to get it; secure a move to a team in need of his services that could guarantee regular playing time.
It remains to be seen how selling a good player to a direct rival will affect City in the coming years. But the club made the best of the situation. Arsenal were ready to pay. Jesus only had one year left on his contract. Keeping him another year will mean losing him on a free.
How the club managed to get £45million from Arsenal for him speaks to City’s savviness in negotiations and the player’s quality.
At this point there’s only one thing to say.
Thanks for the memories, Gabby.
And good luck in your future endeavours as you open another chapter in your career. Although certainly not at City’s expense.