A quick Friday blog for you. As we think about additions to the squad, the name of Gabriel Jesus is pretty much top of the list when it comes to a striker arrival, and there were some quotes from him while away on international duty. He said (via @rehnato):
“I’m very relaxed. I’m looking for the best (option) for my career. Now I’m focusing on national team. Tuesday onwards I’ll look out for my future.
“I’m very calm. I’ve always been a person who thinks a lot, I’m not going to throw myself into a project that I’m not sure and don’t know about.”
Over the last little while, we’ve had reports from Brazil which said that lines of communication between Arsenal and the Jesus camp have been open for a long time. We’ve heard that talks are ‘advanced’, and from as much as we can glean from what makes the press, this is something the club have been working on for quite some time.
In that sense, it probably makes it more likely that we’ve been able to sell him on a project that he’s fully up to speed on and, hopefully, made him sure that Arsenal is the place to be. You can never be 100% confident until he signs on the dotted line, obviously. We’ve had a number of similar situations in the not-too-distant past where we’ve thought strikers like Luis Suarez and Jamie Vardy were going to sign (remember Suarez on the back page of the Guardian with a ‘Let me leave’ headline after the £40,000,001?).
However, I doubt that in those cases there were months of behind the scenes communication and ‘selling’ going on. There’s the Brazilian connection with Edu, there’s the Arteta/Man City connection on top of that, and there’s also the opportunity for him to come to Arsenal and be the main man as we look to improve and develop further. It sounds like the kind of project a player could get on board with, fingers crossed we can get this one over the line because I feel like he’s a player who would bring a lot to the club.
His name came up in conversation on the latest Arsecast, in particular around how we address one of the key issues this team has: the inability to come back from losing positions with any kind of regularity or frequency. His pressing ability, along with that of Martin Odegaard – who Lewis talks about in this tactical review of the season – as well as mobile wide players like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli, could give the side an extra dimension.
We saw some of it via Eddie Nketiah when he replaced Alexandre Lacazette, and some of the late season goals we scored would not have happened if the deeper lying Frenchman had continued up front, but I think Jesus would take this to another level. Hopefully one Nketiah can replicate in terms of physical performance at least, but while I know not everyone is convinced, the idea of the Man City man coming in is exciting to me.
Speaking of Lacazette, reports from France suggest he’s going back to Lyon, the club he joined us from in 2017. I guess a full ‘obit’ can wait until it’s gone through, and the move makes sense for him, but if I’m reflecting quickly on his time here, it’s been disappointing really. The price-tag was big, not always a guarantee as one subsequent transfer in particular has demonstrated, but I expected more from him over the course of 5 years.
71 goals in 206 appearances is pretty average, and it’s worth remembering that even after the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang he was the center-forward a lot of the time with his mate out left. Anyway, he always seemed like a nice guy, and well thought of by our up and coming young players, so good luck to him back in France.
For some extra reading this morning, there’s a fascinating piece on the BBC about an early adopter of stats (OptaCharles), and there’s an Arsenal connection too. Well worth a read here.
And if you missed it earlier in the week, Tim takes a look at Eddie Nketiah.
Over on Patreon we’ve got our final Poorly Drawn Month of the season, looking back at May, but for now I’ll leave you with a brand new Arsecast, chatting to Lewis Ambrose about the way Mikel Arteta’s team developed over the course of the season, and lots more.
Enjoy, more here tomorrow.