Truth behind Gabriel Jesus’ poor goal return as Man City star signs for Arsenal

Arsenal have confirmed the £45million signing of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City as Mikel Arteta looks to bolster his squad ahead of their return to Europe.

The Brazilian ace, 25, has penned a five-year deal at the Emirates Stadium, where is expected to battle it out with Eddie Nketiah for a starting berth. Under the shadow of Sergio Aguero for much of his career in Manchester, Jesus was reluctant to play second fiddle to new City striker Erling Haaland, who arrived for £51m in May.

A peripheral figure during his early years at the Etihad, question marks were raised over his ability in front of goal, but the stats show Jesus has always been a ferocious marksman.

READ MORE: Gabriel Jesus believes "100%" in Arsenal project after crucial Mikel Arteta talks

Linking up with City in the 2017 January transfer window, the Brazil international took instantly to the Premier League with three goals and an assist in his first two starts. Getting off the mark at the London Stadium, Jesus then scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over Swansea City.

Despite an impressive start, the baby-faced forward suffered a metatarsal fracture in City's next game, forcing him from the field after only a quarter of an hour. The injury would rule him out for two months as Pep Guardiola's side slipped from second to fourth in the table – effectively ruling them out of the title race.

Making his next start in a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough, Jesus' late strike helped the Cityzens claim a point against the Teessiders before registering three goals and three assists in his final four outings of the season.

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Used in conjunction with Aguero during their 100-point season the following term, Jesus bagged 13 top-flight goals – including the 'centurion' strike against Southampton on the final day. However, the Brazilian has hit double figures just once since the 2017/18 campaign.

Returns of seven in 2018/19, 14 in 2019/20, and nine in the behind-closed-doors 2021/22 season were put down to the sizzling form of Aguero, who managed 61 goals over the three top-flight campaigns. Jesus would surely have blitzed the scoring charts if he were utilised consistently? City's failed pursuit of Harry Kane provided the answer. Not quite.

He managed eight Premier League goals last campaign – including nine notable assists – but was only deployed as a centre-forward for 58% of the season. Popping up on the right side of a front three, Jesus performed admirably for large parts of the season without ever asserting a lethal presence in front of goal.

Vital strikes against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea proved he could cut it on the big stage, but half of his eight-goal return came in the 5-1 mauling of Watford in April. Yet on further examination, it's unfair to categorise the 2021/22 season with Jesus as the main man.

Yes, the 25-year-old was City's only recognised striker, but he only completed 90 minutes on 13 occasions in the Premier League. His record – 58 in 159 top-flight appearances – is commendable, but a more accurate reflection – 53 goals in 99 PL starts – is why he's worth shelling out for.

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