Manchester City have signed 19-year-old Brazilian winger Gabriel Jesus from Palmeiras for £27m plus add-ons. Jesus has agreed a five-year deal but will stay with Palmeiras until the end of the Brazilian season in December.
City have been determinedly pursuing a deal for the youngster who they consider as the best talent in Europe. And after this protracted saga they have managed to ward off Barcelona who were equally interested in the Brazilian sensation. Jesus was voted the best newcomer in the Brazilian top flight last season and is part of his country’s squad at the Rio Olympics. He has scored 26 goals in 67 first-team appearances for Palmeiras and is the top scorer in the Brazilian Serie A this season – but is yet to make his senior international debut.
After signing on the dotted lines the youngster expressed his delight in having completed the move.
‘’We have many great talents in the team and a fantastic manager in Pep Guardiola that I can learn so much from,” said Jesus.
“I’m looking forward to showing the City fans what I can do and I think we’ll have a great future together.”
Born in São Paulo, he grew up in the Jardim Peri favela and it was there, playing barefoot on concrete pitches, he developed typically Brazilian skills: he is explosive, inventive and bold, with balance and dexterity verging on the ludicrous.
Guardiola played an important role in ensuring Gabriel Jesus signed for City despite a reported contractual clause stipulating his availability to Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain for “just” £20.3m. Guardiola, though, is said to have bypassed official channels to approach the player personally and the move seems to have been persuasive.
Jesus caught the eye of Palmeiras in 2013 and quickly established himself in their youth setup, hitting a staggering 54 goals in 48 appearances during his first season. He signed a professional contract in 2015 but his debut could have come a year earlier, such was his advanced stage. However, with Palmeiras fighting to retain their top-flight status, Jesus was not involved in the relegation battle, despite vehement calls from supporters demanding his inclusion. He eventually was introduced and there has been no looking back since.
Jesus is capable of playing across the forward line and further boosts new manager Guardiola’s attacking options following Tuesday’s £37m capture of Germany international Leroy Sane from Schalke. Guardiola has now spent around £100m on players so far this summer and also signed Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aaron Mooy.
The signing was warmly greeted by City fans with the expected occasional barb from their cross-town rivals who seem to judge people by their appearances of late.
@ManCity are you ready to be European champions? ‘Cause this guy is better than Neymar and Messi combined. Great signing.
— Leonardo Escudeiro (@escudeiro_leo) August 3, 2016
@ManCity The biggest talent in Brazil and the best player in the Brasileirão 2016. 19 years old. You have a jewel, take care! ????
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats2) August 3, 2016
@ManCity Brazilian Shaun Wright-Phillips
— ND (@RioFerdinandos) August 3, 2016
@ManCity such a amazing signing! Beating top clubs like Barca to him!
— CynicalCity (@Llandegren) August 3, 2016
— زياد فيصل ال خليفة (@zeyadalkhalifa) August 3, 2016
— Gabriel Palaio (@gapalaio) August 3, 2016
@ManCity The Brazilian Yannick Bolasie
— Marwan. (@IbraCadabraUtd) August 3, 2016