Attacker | Manchester City | Brazil
In January 2017, Manchester City fans caught their first glimpse of Gabriel Jesus on English soil: eight minutes from time in a game against Tottenham at home, Pep Guardiola turned to the young Brazilian and handed him his debut.
What happened next made many believe that this was a man who would eventually displace Sergio Aguero in City’s front line. By February, there looked to be no doubt about it: the Argentinian club legend would be sadly shunted towards the door, possibly as early as the impending summer transfer window.
That was until a metatarsal injury sustained in an away game against Bournemouth limited the Brazilian’s impact in that first season in England and gave Aguero a chance to bend his game to suit his manager’s wishes.
Since then, Jesus has had the chance to show his brilliance only in fits and starts. Another injury in the final game of 2017 curtailed his involvement in the early part of 2018 - unfortunately for him, that’s where this review must begin.
2018 Has Been…
After such an explosive start to life in the Premier League, it’s fair to say that Jesus’s star has faded somewhat. When the 2018 list was released a year ago, he had eight goals and three assists before Christmas and that was enough to convince many that he was making progress. In the second half of that season, however, he managed just five goals, failing to kick on from the promise of his first month in Sky Blue.
This was supposed to be the year when Jesus’s inexorable rise eclipsed even a great of the Premier League like Aguero. Instead, 2018 has seen the Argentine re-establish himself as the club’s undisputed number nine.
Perhaps the young attacker’s best moment of the calendar year was his final goal of the 2017/18 season. That strike happened to be the final one his club’s historic campaign and indeed of the league season as a whole: a 94th minute strike away to Southampton which not only clinched victory for his club, but sealed the win that snatched the 100th point, an achievement which will forever be remembered, with Jesus’s name forever etched into the history books.
Despite his obvious talent, his lofty potential and the work rate to take him all the way to the top, his 2018 has not seen him continue his upward trend towards greatness. From the bright-eyed boy who was already destined for greatness in 2017, it’s now clear that this precocious talent will take a bit more time to mature.
Count very much on seeing Jesus’s star rise for a second time. But it might happen more slowly than the first.