Arteta can vindicate Arsenal transfer claim with move for one of Guardiola ‘best’ signings

Gabriel Jesus ‘one of our best signings’ says Pep Guardiola after City victory

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Mikel Arteta’s controversial transfer claim could be vindicated if Arsenal land a deal for one of Pep Guardiola’s ‘best’ Manchester City signings in Gabriel Jesus. The Gunners’s lack of activity in the January transfer window was criticised, with American defender Auston Trusty proving to be the only signing.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s contract was terminated to allow a deadline-day switch to Barcelona, with squad options Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac also shown the exit door. Loan moves for Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Pablo Mari were also sanctioned, seemingly leaving Arteta short of players during the Gunners’ run-in which saw rivals Tottenham pip them to a top-four finish.

Arsenal were reportedly keen on bringing in a striker, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Alexander Isak and Dusan Vlahovic all said to feature on their mid-season shortlist. However, no further incoming deals were agreed and Arteta had to rely upon Eddie Nketiah and the departing Alexandre Lacazette for the remainder of the campaign.

The Gunners’ released list confirms Nketiah is currently a free agent, although the 23-year-old is reportedly expected to sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium. Defending the club’s mid-season business, Arteta told reporters in February: “Edu and his team did a fantastic job and they continue to do that.

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“We only want the best players and the best people in this club. When we are in a rush and the reasons are not right for getting a player into the club, we decide not to do it.”

This ‘best player’ pledge and steadfast refusal to settle may have proven costly in the run-in, but could be backed up if Arsenal are able to land a deal for Jesus. At least one new forward is clearly the priority for Arteta this summer, and the Brazil international has been widely tipped to leave City following the impending arrivals of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.

Jesus is now in the final year of his contract with the Premier League champions, and is expected to make a decision on his future following the latest round of international fixtures. The forward has previously hinted at his frustation of often being used a rotation option by Pep Guardiola, but that has not stopped the City manager from showering the 25-year-old with praise.

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The former Barcelona boss has been in the Etihad hotseat for six years, and has splashed the cash over the years on a host of superstars. However, Guardiola has previously named Jesus as ‘one of the best signings’ City have made during his tenure.

He told the club’s website in September last year: “If one person, one player deserves the best, it is Gabriel. He runs for everyone and when he scores, I am the happiest man.

“He can play in the three positions upfront and he does it really well. Gabriel goes down, gets up and tries again. He’s a young player and one of the best signings we have done in this period together.”

Jesus has registered 95 goals and 46 assists during his trophy-laden spell with City so far, but these statistics do not tell the whole story when it comes to the Arsenal transfer target. For Guardiola, the forward is the ‘best in the world’ when it comes to his work-rate off the ball.

The City boss told Marca in February: “He can play in the three positions up front, and when we need runners and players who help a lot in our high intensity and high pressing…he’s the best in the world. Thanks to him, we can stay high.

“Thanks to him, we can be so aggressive. Phil [Foden] again, both when playing that position help us to get extra rhythm for our midfield players and our back four can stay higher for a long time.”

Arsenal are in desperate need of a goalscorer, and in Jesus they would be landing an elite forward with arguably his best seasons ahead of him. Gunners fans may not be convinced, but a summer deal for the City striker could also prove Arteta right to wait for the ‘best’.

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