IIt took 85 seconds for Gabriel Jesus to provide a convincing accuracy of what Mikel Arteta He sought above all in this transfer period. Arsenal lost 2-0 in Friday’s friendly at Nuremberg, and while that wasn’t something to be concerned about, their manager was entitled to expect a change of heart at halftime.
Within moments of his introduction, Jesus seized control of a defender, found a tram line from which to rush into the penalty area, and played one-two with Eddie Nketia and scored from inside the near post from a tight angle.
By the time the proceedings were over, he had scored another brilliant goal, and if that was the same description anyone could take, at least the suggestion was that Arsenal £45 million new striker It was not sold wrongly.
In May after Arsenal Barely a glove on Newcastle and dashed their Champions League hopes, Arteta spoke of the top four opponents who “have a very different image to the player we have”. He was referring to proven winners: players who know what it takes to turn a brilliant performance into a successful one and do so with the same consistency as the awards.
In order for his team to develop, he must bring Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Ben White to that level while hiring individuals who were already there.
It’s not easy when you can only play Europa League football, but they’ve found one in Jesus and it’s still time for the Brazilian side.
“When we find this player, it probably won’t be the top priority which is the age in the position,” Arteta said of his search for summer promotions, noting that last year’s policy on under-23 signings would be adjusted when necessary.
But Jesus is barely 30 years old with few years left in him: he turned 25 in April and with four Premier League medals, it already makes sense to think Arsenal have made a splash with possession.
“He is used to winning and he knows winning is the only way to achieve that. I think he will set different standards at the club,” Arteta said after confirming his arrival on Monday.
The deal would have had little chance were it not for the close working relationship between Arteta and the Brazilian since their time at Manchester City. He knows exactly what he’s going to get, adding to the sense of an uncommonly good match. When Jesus rambled on purpose as soon as the ball came alive he pounced on that dirty touch to set his first goal against Nuremberg on the move, it was as if he was bent on showing off every aspect that made him so attractive.
Under Arteta, Arsenal have to start playing quickly: when they don’t, the warning signs are generally clear and prospects are visibly vacillating. Working fiercely off the ball, Jesus is able to force opportunities and territory through pressure like a terrier, but he knows how to use them too. He is a player that gives you a foothold.
Will it provide enough targets? From the ninth place he’s long craved, perhaps: he’s only twice scored more than 10 goals in a top-flight season, even though 38% of his league appearances for City have been a substitute and often quite a hit.
Arsenal scored 38 fewer goals than City last season and were 15 goals behind third-placed Chelsea. “Somehow you need those goals in the team,” Arteta said two months ago. “Don’t ask me how, but you need them.”
As he approaches his climax, Jesus must provide part of the answer. The intent is also that the run and its movement create more opportunities for Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Nketiah – who Arteta believes could be a useful foil for Jesus late in the games – to prove their own competence.
He feels the time is right to take on the mantle of the leading man who has never fallen out of his way at City, but Arsenal still need more, and his transfer activity over the next seven weeks will determine how well he can continue on the path next.
There is still little hope of relegation for Rafinha, who will kick Nicolas Pepe out of the water as an option to rotate with Saka, although Chelsea and Barcelona remain the favorites. Inquiries have been made about Kosovo’s Lille winger, Edon Zegrova, but he is just one of several potential alternatives.
Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez may decide his old coach Erik ten Hag will face a popular competition against Arteta, which perhaps reflects he cannot win them all, while Yuri Tillmans would be a great addition to their midfield if Leicester agree to a deal. Fabio Vieira, the vaunted Portuguese playmaker, Signed from Porto But time will be given to settle.
The gap between Arsenal’s top performers and their teammates has been quite wide for some time: Arteta wants quality as a substitute for quality, especially when making five substitutions. The arrival of Jesus is the main statement for the time being.
“From day one he showed such passion, anger and decisiveness every time he did something,” Arteta said.
Those who have experienced the events in Bavaria can see exactly what he meant.
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