Arsenal are “cautiously confident” about completing a deal for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.
Jesus expressed his intention to move to the Emirates at the beginning of June, and the only roadblock thus far has been the disparity in the valuations of both clubs.
The north London club spent nearly six months working with the forward’s agent, Marcello Pettinati, to ensure they were first in line to sign him from the Premier League winners this summer.
During initial talks, Arsenal mooted a figure of around £30m given the Brazil international has a year left on his contract, but the asking price is £50m.
Arsenal are drafting a package closer to City’s expectation and are confident of tying up their priority target even though there is slight anxiety over the amount of interest shown in Jesus, including from Chelsea.
City highlighted the player is still just 25, has not reached his ceiling, possesses a proven record in the final third, and works intensely off the ball. Selling to a rival Premier League side also generally carries a premium.
However, his camp feel the City player Thomas Tuchel is keener on is Raheem Sterling.
Jesus wants to reunite with Mikel Arteta, who would regularly offer individual coaching and advice when serving as assistant to Pep Guardiola.
Arsenal’s strength of pursuit, the fact they are desperately in need of an attacker in his mould, and the opportunity for Jesus to assume more responsibility appeals. Arteta is without a senior striker after the expiry of Alexandre Lacazette’s contract and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Barcelona exit.
Arsenal have had problems in front of goal over the past two seasons and see Jesus as one solution to the issue. An impending £34m deal for Porto’s highly-rated midfielder Fabio Vieira will assist their chance creation. Why Arsenal need a striker…
The Gunners’ most pressing need for next season is in attack. When your leading marksman has the same number of goals as bottom-placed Norwich, you know there is a problem.
The issue is not in creating chances, the problem is in taking them. Arsenal ranked fourth for shots, shots on target and expected goals (xG) this season, but ranked 11th for shot conversion. This disparity places Arteta’s side 15th for xG differential, which measures the difference between goals and xG. A low xG differential suggests you are missing high-quality chances – only Brighton, Leeds and the three relegated teams had a lower xG differential than Arsenal.
The main culprit in this regard is Alexandre Lacazette, who scored just two non-penalty goals from 46 shots and a xG return of 6.84. Only Brentford’s Bryan Mbuemo underperformed his xG by a bigger margin this season.
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