Gabriel Jesus is believed to be closing in on a move to Manchester City, a player dubbed ‘the new Neymar’. Although we should be careful not to compare young players to those already at the top of the game, it tells us a bit about his reputation in his homeland. There is a big project ahead of Pep Guardiola as their squad is ageing and lacking the ruthless edge that the biggest sides in Europe possess. If they manage to complete the deal for the latest Brazilian wonderkid, it would be a huge statement and indicate the beginning of the era at the club.
Although it looks like Manchester City are favourites, it is far from a done deal with Manchester United sniffing around the Palmeiras forward. Pep Guardiola personally spoke to Gabriel on the phone, telling him about the role he sees for him at the Etihad Stadium. They have submitted a €32m bid, which is high considering what he has achieved in the game, but his potential is sky high and the fee now could turn out to be a bargain in five years time. Manchester United are one of the five clubs who can buy Gabriel for €24m, but they are believed to be willing to pay up to €35m to get the deal done quickly and gazump their local rivals.
It is clear to see why the biggest European clubs have been tracking Gabriel. He is a dynamic player, who will excite supporters and get them into the stadium. The forward possesses the Brazilian flair and skill, following in the footsteps of Kaka, Ronaldinho, Robinho and Neymar in that regard. His best attribute is his dribbling, as he has the pace, skill and close ball control to carry the ball dangerously in the final third. He is always looking forward and trying to create an opening, which makes him incredibly difficult to defend against.
The youngster has end product as well, which makes him all the more exciting. He is already too good for the Brazilian league, contributing ten goals and four assists in the current campaign. He can play on either wing or as a central forward, but his best position is left wing. His pace and skill allow him to beat players, before cutting in on his stronger right foot to strike at goal. In addition, Gabriel is an excellent finisher and is composed when chances come his way. He likes to use innovative flicks and skilful passes to get the ball to his team-mates, especially when he is closed into small spaces. Although it looks fancy, his ability to find a team-mate shows his vision and awareness of his surroundings.
Perhaps the most impressive part to his game is that he is hard-working and can handle a physical battle, despite being only 5’9″. This goes against the Brazilian stereotype that we have seen in the past. Gabriel is more than capable of holding up the ball if required and chase lost causes. Moreover, he gets back and does his bit defensively. He frequently wins the ball high up the pitch and would be perfect for Pep Guardiola’s high pressing style of play. In the past the best young players in South America normally look to move to Spain, but Gabriel’s style of play suits to the Premier League and he could quickly emerge as one of the league’s top stars.
There is always risk when buying potential, especially for the large fee required to secure Gabriel Jesus. He would need a settling in period, and isn’t the finished article that perhaps City require. However, the way he plays the game shows maturity beyond his years and Pep Guardiola would be a great coach for him. The Spaniard has turned potential into ability quickly in the past, with Joshua Kimmich’s being a pertinent example. The reports about the proposed deal state that the Brazilian would complete the season with Palmeiras before moving to England in the January window. This would give him a bedding in period ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Pep Guardiola has the biggest test of his career at City, and signing Gabriel Jesus would show the world that they are on the brink of joining Europe’s elite. The best players from Brazil don’t normally move to English sides, especially ones rated as highly as Gabriel. It would be a huge coup for Guardiola to begin his tenure at the Etihad Stadium. He has the potential to become one of the best in Europe, but he is already to play a part in a similar way to how Anthony Martial contributed at Manchester United last season. He would need time to settle. However, a link up between Gabriel Jesus and Pep Guardiola looks to be one made in heaven.