Manchester City have completed the signing of Gabriel Jesus, beating Barcelona to the 19-year-old Brazilian forward after agreeing a fee of £27m with Palmeiras.
Gabriel Jesus – supposedly the hottest prospect in Brazil, rated the most exciting newcomer last season and frequently compared to Neymar, his friend who tried to encourage him to move to the Camp Nou – scored 19 goals in 30 appearances last season for Palmeiras and will stay there until the end of December.
The forward told City’s website:“Manchester City is one of the best clubs in the world so I’m really pleased to sign. We have many great talents in the team and a fantastic manager in Pep Guardiola that I can learn so much from. I’m looking forward to showing the City fans what I can do and I think we’ll have a great future together.”
Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, said:“We are delighted that Gabriel has chosen to join us. He is one of the most exciting young prospects in world football and plays the game in a spectacular way. We look forward to him making a big impact at Manchester City in January.”
Gabriel Jesus is little known at the moment outside Brazil but that may begin to change quite soon as he will be appearing with Neymar in the Olympics football tournament at the Rio Games.
Predominantly a winger, even described in some circles as an old-fashioned winger, like Neymar he can operate equally effectively as a No10 or striker, hence his impressive goal tally.
The former Brazil striker Ronaldo is a fan, declaring:“I am betting on two great talents that are still developing but already show a lot of skill: Santos’s Gabigol and Palmeiras’s Gabriel Jesus. And they haven’t even turned 20 yet.”
The teenager has signed a five-year deal, though if he arrives in Manchester in January he will spend only four and a half years of it in England. Brazil’s domestic season ends in December and City will start paying Gabriel Jesus’s wages only once he leaves Palmeiras.
Gabriel Jesus’s fee – which could rise to £31m with add-ons – takes Pep Guardiola’s summer spending to around £100m after Ikay Gündogan, Nolito and Leroy Sané, though of the new City manager’s first four signings three of them are wingers.
Nolito might be only notionally a wide player, but Sané has already been described as similar in style to Raheem Sterling and Guardiola still has the former Liverpool player to fit into his plans.
City are also believed to be close to signing another 19-year-old from South America in Marlos Moreno, a Colombian striker who is expected to go straight out on loan to Deportivo de La Coruña. Talks are understood to be ongoing with Everton’s England defender John Stones.
– The Guardian UK
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