“I don’t want to be the superstar, you know?” said Gabriel Jesus after impressing in his pre-season debut for Arsenal.
The Brazilian forward scored twice, and basically scored another two which ended up being own goals. It was a tantalizing taste of what is to come for Arsenal fans who have been missing a good striker for two years.
The question is, will they let Gabriel Jesus not be the superstar?
“I just want to play football, go out on the pitch and help my teammates, like a family we have to do it together.
“Everything. Outside the pitch, on the pitch, so I’m not here to be ‘the man’. I’m here to help, to learn with these guys as well, and to win together.”
The problem is, he is ‘the man’, at least a little bit. His first goal featured good link up play and crucially, the run into the box to end the move with a goal.
Arsenal got outstanding link up play at times from Alexandre Lacazette last season. However the Frenchman, who could never quite last an entire game physically, rarely had the energy to arrive in the box after dropping deep.
Lacazette prioritized giving a platform to Arsenal’s young attackers, and was economical with the one or two sprints a game he was capable of.
Gabriel Jesus can do both, and arrives in an attack that’s been lacking conviction. He’s not at Manchester City anymore. While he doesn’t want to be ‘the man’, he’s certainly the main man in Arsenal’s attack now.
He is still a little scarred by his experience of playing as Brazil’s striker and not scoring a goal in the World Cup. With regular playing time at Arsenal, Jesus has the chance to exorcise those demons and if it works out, he will absolutely be a superstar. Is he ready?