Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus transfer bid reeks of desperation

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 22 Jun 2022 14:41 CEST
  • 4 min read
FT Desk 22 Jun 2022 14:41 CEST 4 min read
Gabriel Jesus, Man City, 2021/22

Arsenal are reportedly set to offer Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus up to €17 million a year to join them, in a move that shows how desperate the Gunners are to compete with the big boys.

It is now a long time since Arsenal were the one of the greatest forces in English football, players from that fabled Invincibles season in 2003/04 like Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry now either coaches or pundits.

The Gunners missed out on Champions League football last term after finishing fifth in the Premier League, and the need for attacking reinforcements is apparent with midfielder Bukayo Saka their top scorer in 2021/22 with 11 goals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona midway through the campaign and fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette was allowed to return to Lyon on a free transfer this summer after scoring just four league goals.

Jesus might represent an upgrade but reports in French media suggest that Arsenal are willing to offer the Brazilian forward up to €16 million a season, and even €17m should they qualify for the Champions League next year.

That would make Jesus the highest-paid player at the club, some €5m clear of midfielder Thomas Partey, but it is also an amount that would have seen him bring home the fourth-biggest salary at champions Man City!

Only Kevin De Bruyne (€24.2m), Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling (both (€18.2m), currently bring home in excess of the figure being quoted for Jesus per annum at the Etihad.

Is Gabriel Jesus worth the money?

Jesus managed eight goals and nine assists in the Premier League last season as City won the title 24 points clear of Arsenal. For a player sometimes consigned to the bench, it made for a respectable return of a goal or assist every 110 minutes he played.

But City also created 87 big chances last season - which was a league second-best to Liverpool (97) and some 48 more than Arsenal managed under Mikel Arteta.

Arteta was also part of the aforementioned Invincibles squad, but if he is to emulate Arsene Wenger and get Arsenal back to the top of the table, he needs players who are going to move the needle.

Whilst Jesus is good, he might not be that man - if he was, Pep Guardiola would have given him more minutes than any of Sterling, Grealish, Phil Foden or Bernardo Silva in attacking positions; and he didn't.

Jesus also still has a year to run on his City deal. Arsenal may not have to part ways with the €52m the Brazilian is valued at by FootballTransfers' algorithm, but they would still have to spend a significant sum even before his salary is accounted for.

Arsenal can no longer attract the biggest clubs' best players, and they will need more than just Jesus if they want to be reborn.