With all the transfer rumours swirling around Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus may cut a frightened figure as Pep Guardiola appears to have a new striker at the top of his wish-list.
One headline to take centre stage this week was the announcement Sergio Aguero will leave City in the summer after a decade of superlative service.
That news kicked-started the rumour mill, with names thrown into the hat regarding who might replace the iconic Argentine at the Etihad next season.
The Telegraph reports City have prioritised Borussia Dortmund’s goalscoring sensation Erling Haaland. If they can’t land the Norwegian, the Times reports Manchester City are considering a summer swoop for England skipper Harry Kane.
On the other hand, Eurosport suggests Inter Milan ace Romelu Lukaku is in line to be tempted back to Manchester. Sky Sports, however, has thrown Southampton striker Danny Ings’ name into the hat as a possible successor to Aguero.
Amid the clamour, everyone seems to be forgetting there’s already a number nine within the Etihad’s walls.
Second to Sergio
Jesus joined City from Palmeiras for £27 million (Sky Sports) in 2016.
His role was primarily as back-up for Aguero, who had scored 29 goals in 44 games the previous season.
The players’ hero-and-sidekick combination continued until the past couple of years.
Injuries kept Aguero sidelined for large portions of that time, allowing Jesus to step into the limelight for Guardiola’s side.
Yet, even in Aguero’s absence, the 23-year-old has failed to establish himself as the club’s main marksman.
False nine and false hopes
Guardiola has frequently played without a conventional striker this season, opting for an unconventional but equally effective ‘false nine’ instead.
However, if City do land Haaland, Kane or Lukaku, they will surely revert to type by focusing attacks around a traditional centre-forward. An expensive one, too.
As scary as this idea sounds for opponents, it isn’t too promising for Jesus either.
He would surely be demoted to his role as understudy, a job the Brazil international has become all too familiar with.
For a player who has scored 80 goals in 183 games for Man City, isn’t it time Jesus got a shot at being the lead actor?
Or will he have to make the choice between understudy at City or a leading role elsewhere? Time will tell as the transfer window moves closer.
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