Gabriel Jesus: Arsenal cautiously optimistic of completing deal for Man City striker | football news

Arsenal are “cautiously optimistic” of landing a deal for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus over the line.

The north London club worked nearly six months with the striker’s agent, Marcello Pettinati, to ensure they were in prime position to recruit him from the Premier League champions this summer.

Jesús expressed his desire to move to the Emirates at the beginning of June and the only stumbling block so far has been the distance between the valuations of both clubs.

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A look back at Gabriel Jesus’ best Premier League goals for Manchester City

During initial talks, Arsenal floated a figure of around £30m given the Brazil international has one year left on his contract, but the asking price is £50m.

City stressed that the player is still 25 years old, has not reached his ceiling, has a proven record in the last third and works hard without the ball. Selling to a rival Premier League team usually carries a premium as well.

Arsenal are drafting a package closer to City’s expectations and confident of tying down their priority target despite slight anxiety over the amount of interest shown in Jesus, including from Chelsea.

However, his camp feels that City player Thomas Tuchel is more interested in Raheem Sterling.

Gabriel Jesus boasts a much better record in the games he has started
Gabriel Jesus boasts a much better record in the games he has started

Jesus wants to meet with Mikel Arteta, who would regularly offer coaching and individual advice when serving as Pep Guardiola’s assistant.

Arsenal’s chasing strength, the fact that they desperately need a striker in their mold and the opportunity for Jesus to take on more responsibilities beckons.

Arteta is left without a senior striker following the expiry of Alexandre Lacazette’s contract and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure from Barcelona.

Arsenal have had problems in front of goal in the last two seasons and they see Jesus as a solution to the problem. An imminent £34m deal for Porto’s highly rated midfielder Fabio Vieira will help create opportunities.

Why Arsenal needs a striker…

The Gunners’ most pressing need for the upcoming season is on offense. When your top scorer has the same number of goals as bottom-placed Norwich, you know there’s a problem.

The problem is not creating chances, the problem is taking advantage of them. Arsenal ranked fourth in shots, shots on goal and expected goals (xG) this season, but ranked 11th in shot conversion.

Arsenal attacking statistics
Arsenal attacking statistics

This disparity places Arteta’s full-back in 15th place in the xG differential, which measures the difference between goals and xG. A low xG spread suggests you are missing out on high quality opportunities – only Brighton, Leeds and the three relegated teams had a lower xG spread than Arsenal.

The main culprit in this regard is Alexandre Lacazette, who scored just two goals without a penalty from 46 shots and an xG return of 6.84. Only Bryan Mbuemo of Brentford underperformed his xG by a larger margin this season.

Analysis: Will Jesus prosper away from Man City?

Jesus was announced as Sergio Aguero’s successor in 2017 but will leave the Etihad having never made more than 22 starts for Pep Guardiola’s side in a Premier League campaign. Over the past five seasons, he has played just 51 per cent of City’s available minutes.

Not that his scoring record is anything to sneeze at. Jesús has averaged a goal every 160 minutes in the Premier League. Of the players who have scored at least 15 times in the competition since then, only six boast a higher goal rate.

That’s partly down to a lack of consistent starting opportunities (more than a third of Jesus’ 159 Premier League appearances have been as a substitute), but it’s also a matter of completion.

Gabriel Jesús celebrates his fourth goal against Watford

Jesus excels in many ways, from his off-the-ball movement and versatility to his pressing, but he’s not always that reliable when it comes to converting chances.

Indeed, while their scoring record isn’t bad, the underlying data hints at significant shortcomings in front of goal.

Since his City debut five and a half years ago, Jesus has the second-largest negative difference between actual goals scored and expected goals in the Premier League, behind only Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke.

Arsenal, close to reaching an agreement for Vieira

Arsenal are close to reaching an agreement to sign Port midfield player fabio vieira for a fee that could be worth £35m, including add-ons.

The deal should be complete once he passes a medical and finalizes personal terms, with some reports suggesting he will fly to London as soon as possible.

The 22-year-old scored six league goals in 15 starts for Porto last season. He has scored 13 goals in 21 appearances for the Portugal Under-21s.

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Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepúlveda explains what Arsenal can expect from Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira, who is expected to undergo medicals at the club on Friday.

What can Arsenal expect from Vieira?

Sky Sports News reporter Mark McAdam on Fabio Vieira:

“He is highly rated and this can be seen as a really exciting move in the transfer window for Mikel Arteta.

“He’s 22, technically very gifted, so he fits into the mold of Arsenal players. He’s got great movement, great grace on the ball, he wants to get on it.”

“He really plays like a number eight, he’s played as a winger or a false nine, but playing in midfield is where he’s best.”

“A Premier League recruiting scout described him to me as a lovely footballer, someone who is great to look at and would love to have by your side.

“Six goals in 15 starts for Porto this season, 13 goals in 21 games for the Portugal Under-21s, that tells you everything you need to know about the kind of midfielder he is.”

Arsenal schedule: Gunners start at Palace

Arsenal will kick off their 2022/23 Premier League campaign at Crystal Palace on August 5, live on Friday Night Football.

Mikel Arteta’s side, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, host Leicester City on August 13 before traveling to newly promoted Bournemouth on August 20.

The Gunners’ first derby in north London will take place at the Emirates Stadium on October 1, while the second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be at the start of the new year on January 14.

Arsenal’s last game before the season break for the winter World Cup will be against Wolves on the weekend of 12/13 November. They will then be back in action on Boxing Day, entertaining West Ham.

The last day of the Premier League season is May 28, when Arsenal close their campaign at home to Wolves.

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