A little over a year ago, a couple of us might have heard murmurings about a kid in Brazil who was being billed as “The Next Neymar”, some of us might have even looked up his “YouTube highlight compilations” where we saw him routinely sit grown men on their backsides (much like Neymar used to do, for Santos), while making his way towards goal…
…and a lot of us might have even predicted that he’d eventually end up signing and making it big for a top European Club, at some point in his career. What none of us could’ve predicted, however (especially after finding out that Pep Guardiola had loaned him back to Palmeiras, after signing him for Manchester City); was that he’d become the talk of the entire Premier League, in less than 4 hours of action, and that he’d keep also Sergio Aguero out of the starting lineup, while doing so.
Coupled with the initial rumours that Guardiola hasn’t been all too pleased with the level of Sergio Aguero’s output, this season, and that he might’ve been in the market for a (permanent) replacement for the Argentine striker, Gabriel Jesus’ recent form has only given more “credibility” to the rumours of Aguero leaving the club at the end of the season.
A lot of opinions have already been shared on the topic, and they’ve largely been divided along two lines. There’s the first group of people (a lot of whom are Manchester City fans, unsurprisingly); who think that Gabriel is the best thing since sliced bread and the answer to all of Manchester City’s striking problems, both for now and in the future, no need for Sergio Aguero. On the other hand, there’s the second group (mostly fans of opposing teams; surprise, surprise); who think that it’s “initial gra gra” (i.e “beginners luck”, more or less) and the hype will eventually die down, with the young lad assuming a more “befitting” and understated role in the English Premier League.
In this article, we’ll be trying our very best to separate the facts from the noise, in order to help you decide for yourselves if Gabriel Jesus is a legitimate threat to Sergio Aguero’s Manchester City career (or whatever else you want to make of this entire situation). Enjoy.
Let’s start with some facts about Man City’s new star, shall we? The 19 year old first rose to prominence during the 2015 season of the Brazilian Serie A, where he made his professional debut and finished with 4 goals and 3 assists for Palmeiras, later on moving to become a regular starter for the team, in the recently-concluded 2016 season. Before the year had reached the halfway mark, the transfer rumours had already started linking him to virtually every top team in Europe, and then even more people started to take interest in his career (a number that would further increase after he starred for Brazil’s Olympic team), none more so than Pep Guardiola, who beat everyone to the signing of the youngster, on the 3rd of August, 2016, for around £27 million. He was loaned back to Palmeiras to finish up the season with the club that gave him his come-up, before being called straight into the Man City senior team, in January, this year. He left Palmeiras with a record of 16 goals and 8 assists in 38 starts (not bad for a teenager who mostly played out wide, right?), also winning the League Title (Palmeiras’ first in over two decades) and Player of the Season award on his way out. With Brazil, he finished as a runner up in the 2015 Under-20 World Cup, starred in the 2016 Olympic squad (winning Brazil’s first ever gold medal in the football tournament), and scored two goals on his competitive debut for the Senior team.
He officially completed his move to Man City on the 19th of January, making his League debut, only two days later. He came on in the 82nd minute, against Tottenham and he put the ball into the back of the net, two minutes later, only to have it rightfully disallowed for being offside (giving the fans a taste of what was to come). His next appearance was in the FA Cup, where he started the game and assisted a Raheem Sterling goal. On the 1st of February, he started in the EPL against West Ham (with Sergio Aguero on the bench) and then he grabbed another assist (to Kevin De Bruyne, this time), before scoring his first Premier League goal, in the 39th minute. Fast forward to just four days later, and he was back at it again, scoring both of City’s goals in the game against Swansea (including a late winner, which sent the entire Etihad into raptures). Since then, the plaudits have been pouring in by the bucket-load and Pep Guardiola’s preference of him in the starting lineup (over Sergio Aguero) has become a regular cause for debate.
Now, that’s Jesus… but what about the man he’s supposed to be replacing? (Kindly click on the appropriate number to move to the next page of the article.)