After continuous speculation, it looks as if Gabriel Jesus might have earned himself a long term contract at Manchester City.
He has been something of an enigma since his £27 million move to Manchester City from Palmeiras. When he first came onto the scene under Pep Guardiola he had the perfect start.
Pushing City legend Sergio Aguero out of the starting XI, he briefly shone as the Premier League’s brightest prospect. His lethal finishing, coupled with traditional Samba flair provoked dreams of an heir apparent to Aguero.
However, since then the Brazilian’s career has advanced in fits and starts for both club and country. There was a point where he was the undisputed number 9 for Brazil, but Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino appears to have claimed that spot for now. At Manchester City, he has also lost his spot as the team’s starting striker.
At first, glance, dropping the Brazilian does seem harsh, especially given his output this season. His XG per 90 and XG Chain per 90 actually betters that of Aguero at 0.98 and 1.26 to 0.96 and 1.03 respectively. However, his goal output is far worse than his team mate’s, from 0.68 to 1.02.
These numbers tell us that Jesus is more involved in build-up play than Aguero but is a worse finisher.
However, what must be noted is the quality of opposition the young forward has scored against this season. Only 10 of his 18 goals have come in the Premier League and three of his five Champions League goals came in a match against Dinamo Zagreb.
This is not to say he only scores against weaker teams. Jesus has scored important goals against Leicester City as well as City’s second against Real Madrid. However, most of his goals have been against opposition City would expect to beat comfortably.
Now with Sergio Aguero ageing and the transfer market affected by COVID-19, the pressure will be on him to deliver. He has the talent to be the legendary striker’s replacement, but whether he will only time will tell.