Manchester City officially announced the signing of youngster Gabriel Jesus last Saturday but who is the 19-year-old?
He cost the Blues a whopping £27 million, which a few years ago may have raised some eyebrows considering he’s still a teenager but he shouldn’t be intimidated by the price in today’s market. Instead, the fee represents a relatively fair price for one of South America’s most prized young talents and his 10-minute cameo against Tottenham provided the Etihad with a glimpse of what kind of talent he could progress to become.
Jesus agreed a five-year deal with the club and admitted Pep Guardiola played a major role in his decision making so he will hope to benefit from his expert coaching and friendly relationship with the players at City. He was signed way back in August but continued to play his football with Palmeiras in the Brazilian league until December and has already spent the last month training with City’s first team.
He’s regarded as one of the best youngsters in South America and he’s already made a name for himself in the national set-up as he made his senior debut in September and he has gone on to make six appearances already. He represented Brazil at the Rio Olympics where he shone alongside Neymar and returned home with a gold medal following an intense penalty shoot-out against Germany. Even then it was clear he has pace and skill which can trouble defenders in the Premier League though it is yet to be seen whether he will be able to cope against physical sides like Stoke.
However, the fact City shrugged off competition from Barcelona is proof his ability is unquestionable and he was already a star in the making at the age of 17 when he made his senior debut for Palmeiras in March 2015/ He came on as a substitute to held his side record a comfortable 1-0 victory over CA Bragantino. Jesus was the name he adopted for himself after he was compared to Christ during his career in Brazil. He wore the number 33 as a representation of the age of Christ and his humble association with faith seems to have guided his motivation in football.
Manchester City’s squad is an ageing one and their attack is one department which could suffer the most. Raheem Sterling still provides youth as part of a front three but Sergio Aguero and David Silva are nearing the end of their peak careers and City are already looking ahead to the future. Leroy Sane’s arrival in the summer was an indication of this and Jesus is also an addition who City hope will emerge as their main front-man in seasons to come.
He faces a tough challenge to follow in the footsteps of Aguero but Nolito, at the age of 30, can at least provide short-term cover while Jesus continues to develop at City among a pair of already established first team teenagers -Kelechi Iheanacho and Sterling. Jesus has all the attributes for success but the Premier League has proven to be a giant killer when it comes to promising youngsters.
Based on Saturday’s performance, Jesus won’t fall into that trap. He immediately made an impact with his pace and he read the game well; picking out pockets of space and running off the shoulder of the defenders. He was almost rewarded for his drive but his effort didn’t count and he will have to wait to get his goal-scoring career off to a start.