With Sergio Aguero’s Manchester City career on pause right now, all eyes have been on Gabriel Jesus in a blue shirt.
The Brazilian forward has been tasked with leading the line in Aguero’s absence, with the club’s all-time top goalscorer leaving big shoes to fill while he’s been out with injury. The Argentine hasn’t scored a league goal for the club since January 2020 and has made just five appearances so far this season for a number of reasons.
Jesus has struggled to take his chance though, with manager Pep Guardiola often leaving him out entirely and opting for a makeshift system with no natural striker.
He started in Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Swansea, scoring his 76th goal in 174 games for the club in a 3-1 win to see them through to the quarter-finals once again.
While his record on paper looks relatively good for someone who’s been a back-up player for the majority of his tenure at the club, but when you break it down some more you start to realise that it’s probably not as good as it seems.
16 of those goals have come in domestic cup competitions, while 15 have come in the Champions League. Even of those 15 in the Champions League, only four have come outside of the group stages and none beyond the last 16.
He seems to be a bit of a flat-track bully when it comes to goalscoring, but that doesn’t make him a bad player. He’s got excellent movement, a great first touch, good hold up play, fantastic link play with his midfielders and is a good finisher when he gets into those positions.
But he doesn’t have that nose for goal that the elite strikers do. During his time at Palmeiras and even now for the Brazilian national team, Jesus gets fielded out wide with the license to drift in-field and link up with the other attacking players.
His long-term future at City shouldn’t be at risk because he’s more than good enough to be a part of the squad and perform well in certain games, but he can’t be relied upon to be the main source of goals for the team.
With the way Guardiola sets his teams up, they are sure to score goals throughout the campaign. But having that one man you can rely on in a tight game is key for all the top sides in the history of the game.
Jesus isn’t that guy and probably never will be, so don’t be shocked to see City go big on a striker this summer with Aguero almost certainly finished at the highest level in a sky blue shirt.