Gabriel Jesus has given Arsenal fans great cause for optimism since arriving from Manchester City.
It might just have been the pre-season that counts for absolutely nothing, but that hasn’t stopped fans from getting a little carried away ahead of the start of the new Premier League season.
They kick off the 2022/23 season with a trip to Selhurst Park on Friday to take on Crystal Palace, live on talkSPORT, which happens to be hosted by Gunners legend Patrick Vieira.
Mikel Arteta has been busy in the transfer market signing Fabio Vieira, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus to the marquee for £45million.
It was a position Arsenal were keen to strengthen following the departures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January.
A real goal threat through the middle is what they missed and the hope and expectation is that Jesus can make it happen.
He’s shown how lethal he can be in preseason. He managed to score seven goals in his five games, culminating in a hat-trick against Sevilla in a 6-0 win on Saturday.
There’s a lot of expectation for Jesus, but as a Brazil striker he’s used to it.
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Ronaldo is a huge fan and even drew comparisons between himself and the striker before Man City signed him from Palmeiras.
Ronaldo told Globo TV: “I’m a fan of Gabriel when I look at him and see myself when I was younger.
“I see a lot of similarities between us.”
Kudos from someone who is an undisputed icon in Brazil, has delivered two World Cups for his country and at 15 has scored the second-most goals in World Cup history.
With Qatar 2022 on the horizon this winter, a move from Man City made sense following the signing of Erling Haaland.
Jesus will have a lot to prove at the upcoming World Cup after failing to find the net in 2018. A record that has weighed heavily on him as he plays for a nation that expects success.
He said Globo TV: “I went to the World Cup as a key player and I didn’t score a goal in the end. It concerns you.
“That scared me. People will always remember Gabriel not scoring at the World Cup.”
Success with the national team is something he will desperately desire as he grew up dreaming of becoming a professional footballer for Brazil.
He played soccer on the streets of Jardim Peri, a favela on the northern outskirts of Sao Paulo where crime is rampant.
For many children in Brazil, football is life and it revealed the extraordinary effort it took to play.
“The pitch was in Romao Gomes prison, but it belonged to the police and wasn’t far from the bad guys,” he told FourFourTwo in 2017.
“Before, only the police played there. I was never afraid of anything there. Well, I was always there very early in the morning.
“Several times I left the house around 5 or 6 in the morning.”
Though he’s a huge superstar now, he hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings. He and his Brazil team-mate Neymar got matching tattoos from a boy in the favelas who dreams of becoming a footballer.
His old neighborhood hasn’t forgotten him either, with a giant 100ft mural of the forward adorning the side of homes next to a soccer field.
The story of Jesus is one that pretty much every kid in Brazil will aspire to, from playing football in the street to signing for one of the best teams in the country – Palmeiras.
He then moved to Man City to work with Pep Guardiola, one of the best coaches in world football, and won four Premier League titles.
The forward also won a gold medal with Brazil in 2016 and has already earned 56 caps for his country despite being just 25.
Arsenal are now hoping he can continue that success at his new club and the signs are looking good for the pre-season.
Rangers legend Ally McCoist admitted he can understand why Gunners fans are optimistic about the new campaign.
He told talkSPORT: “I have to say I like the signings a lot. I really do. Zinchenko is another one who really impressed.
“Jesus, I know it’s only preseason but when you’re a goalscorer you want to feel the ball go into the net as quickly as possible and it did.
“It looks like he’s settled in and they’re reasonably strong defensively. You can understand the optimism of Arsenal supporters.”
But now that preseason is over, he’ll need to hit the ground running in order to impress a notoriously hard-to-please fanbase.
The Premier League is back and talkSPORT has it covered, with games on Friday, Saturday and Monday starting with Crystal Palace v Arsenal on August 5th
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