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Gabriel Jesus signing helps Mikel Arteta’s aims at Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus Arsenal

Arsenal is on the brink of signing their number one target in the transfer window.

Renowned transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano announced a deal that brings Brazilian and Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus to the Emirates. According to Romano, that fee hovers in the realm of $55 million. At Manchester City, Jesus was surplus to requirements at the striker position. City acquired Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and Julián Álvarez from River Plate this year.

Arsenal won a bidding war for Gabriel Jesus over the likes of Champions League sides, notably Chelsea and Arsenal. Already holding a previous relationship with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, Jesus fits naturally in Arsenal’s front line.

After arriving at Manchester City five years ago, Gabriel Jesus served well at the Etihad. This past season, he contributed eight goals and eight assists in the league. Plus, he added four goals in the Champions League. Jesus is part of the most successful domestic club in recent history in the Premier League. For reference, City and Jesus won four of the last five Premier League titles. In addition to that, City won three Carabao Cups, two Community Shields and the 2018/19 FA Cup.

Gabriel Jesus can grow further at Arsenal

The major drawback of Arsenal in the upcoming campaign is the fact that it is only in the Europa League. Despite this, the North London club gives the 2016 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Best Player the clearest opportunity to take his game to the next level. Game time should help the forward develop into more of an elite figure.

With rotation key at Manchester City, he perhaps lacked the consistency to grow. Even then, in 236 matches, the Sao Paulo native scored 95 goals and assisted on 41. Taking a back seat to other big names at the Etihad, Jesus still started at least 20 games in the past three league seasons.

Jesus joins a side in Arsenal that just missed out on the top four this past season. A major factor in that was the lack of goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. With both players departing, the lone goal scorer for Arsenal is Eddie Nketiah. Nketiah finished the season strong with five goals. In compensation, he earned a new five-year deal at the club.

Arteta and pressing with forwards

Gabriel Jesus and Nketiah push each other for minutes at Arsenal. Their friendly competition should bring the best out of each other.

One thing the two forwards have in common is that they are excellent at pressing and applying pressure on their opponents. According to fbref.com, Gabriel Jesus ranked in the 83rd percentile for tackles, the 96th percentile for interceptions and the 88th percentile for blocks among forwards.

In February, Pep Guardiola discussed how important Gabriel Jesus was to the team’s style of play.

“He can play in the three positions up front, and when we need players who can help a lot (with pressing), he’s the best in the world. With him we can be so aggressive, we can get extra rhythm for midfield players, can stay high.”

In a smaller sample size, Nketiah ranked in the 87th percentile for pressures, the 91st percentile for tackles and the 86th percentile for interceptions.

Additional signings

The club is not done when it comes to recruiting players to enhance their end product in the final third. According to reports, the club is also interested in acquiring right winger Raphinha from Leeds. The 25-year-old wants to join Barcelona, but the club’s financial issues are deterring their progress. Arsenal seems to be the most aggressive team in the race.

The Brazilian international also fits the pressing profile the Gunners seek. He ranked in the 91st percentile in blocks, the 79th percentile in interceptions and the 76th percentile in clearances which shows that he tracks back at a high level to help his fullback. The 2017 Vitória Guimarães Breakthrough Player of the Year scored 11 goals and had three assists as he helped Leeds stay in the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus is a step in the right direction and acquiring Raphinha would be a coup. Arteta’s version of Arsenal is starting to take shape. In his system, the frontline is the first wave of defense, and it looks like the club will have some of the best pressing forwards at their disposal.

PHOTO: Kenta Harada/Getty Images

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