Recent reports from Spanish media outlet MARCA state that Barcelona are keen on signing Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus in the upcoming transfer window as Xavi looks set to add to his attacking options.
With a year left on Gabriel’s present contract at the Etihad, the Citizens are asking for a fee in the region of €30 million to part ways with the Brazilian international. The Catalan giants are in the market for a striker as Martin Braithwaite and Luuk de Jong are expected to depart from Camp Nou at the end of the season, leaving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the team’s only natural striker. Stars like Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski, and Darwin Nunez are the Blaugrana club’s priority targets, but given their humongous wage and transfer fee demands, it has been realised that Gabriel Jesus is the most cost-effective option at present.
Having come through the ranks at Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, Gabriel Jesus signed for Manchester City in January 2017 for a fee in the region of €33 million. Over the course of the last six seasons, the Sao Paulo-born attacker has bagged 134 goal contributions in 228 appearances across all competitions. However, due to inconsistency, injury setbacks, and City’s excellent depth in attack, the 25-year-old has been chiefly a rotation option for Pep Guardiola.
Nonetheless, besides amassing seven goals and eleven assists in thirty-three appearances across all competitions this term, the Brazilian international has managed to put some decent numbers on the board – averaging 2.2 shots, 1.2 key passes, 1.5 dribbles and 0.4 long balls per 90 minutes in the English top-flight (calculated over 22 appearances). Regular minutes on the pitch and a fixed role in attack would undoubtedly help him improve the numbers further.
Should Guardiola Cut Him Loose?
The answer largely depends on whether Erling Haaland will choose the Etihad as his next destination in the summer. If that happens, Gabriel Jesus would have to settle for a squad role, so a departure would be the best option for him. Manchester City are stacked with options in pretty much every department at the moment except for the strikers, so the Norwegian international’s arrival would provide Guardiola with the missing piece of the puzzle.
(Stats from WhoScored)