outh American football expert Tim Vickery claims Gabriel Jesus may not be the perfect solution to Arsenal’s problems at centre-forward this summer.
The Manchester City star is Mikel Arteta’s leading target and the club are confident of securing a deal worth up to £50m to follow up on the addition of Fabio Vieira.
Goals were a problem for Arteta’s side last season. All of the top four, as well as eighth-placed Leicester City, scored more than their 61, with no Arsenal player aside from Bukayo Saka or Emile Smith Rowe hitting double figures in a Premier League context.
Jesus scored 8 times during what is widely believed to be his final season as a City player and, while the Brazilian did not often play as a central striker, the 25-year-old has not delivered a haul of over double figures for two years.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Vickery stressed that decision-makers at the Emirates Stadium should factor in Jesus’ struggles as Brazil’s centre-forward at the 2018 World Cup when it came to spending a sizeable chunk of their summer budget on him.
“The low point of his career was the last World Cup,” he said.
“He appeared to be the solution at centre-forward for Brazil, he’d been very good in qualification, but then in the World Cup he had a mare.
“He didn’t score a goal. Much maligned centre-forwards have scored for Brazil at the World Cup, he didn’t manage one. It’s been a trauma for him ever since.
“What is he? Does he want to play as a No.9, or does he want to play as a wide striker? He has kind of run away from being a centre-forward.
“I spoke with the Brazil coach about Gabriel Jesus not that long ago and he said that after the World Cup he called over Gabriel Jesus and asked him, ‘Where do you want to play?’
“Gabriel Jesus said, ‘I don’t mind’, but the coach said, ‘Obviously you mind, you obviously have a preference, what is your preference?’
“And somewhat sheepishly Gabriel Jesus said he’d rather play out wide. This is important for whoever is going to buy him.
“If it’s Arsenal, I know that Arteta knows him from Man City, but that’s a while ago and things change.”