Arsenal have been handed a boost to their hopes of signing Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, with Real Madrid’s bid for the forward hitting a problem.
The Gunners have been widely tipped to bring in Jesus this summer with Mikel Arteta searching for a new striker to lead the line following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s January departure and Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah set to leave when their contracts expire. They are expected to face fierce competition for his signature, although Real Madrid’s hopes of signing the forward have suffered a significant blow.
It comes as Lacazette’s departure marks the latest in a long line of Arsenal number nines to struggle for the club – with fans sure to be hoping Jesus can break the curse. And Emile Smith Rowe failed to reach specific Arsenal set by his manager Mikel Arteta last season.
Here are Mirror Football’s latest Arsenal headlines.
Jesus transfer boost
Real Madrid may have handed the initiative to Arsenal in the race to sign Gabriel Jesus this summer.
Mikel Arteta is reportedly very keen to bring the Manchester City ace to the Emirates, although Real Madrid are also thought to be interested. But their hopes of signing the Brazilian have hit a stumbling block, due to LaLiga’s squad registration rules.
Each club is limited to three non-EU players on the field. Eder Militao, Rodrygo, and Vinicius Jr are now vacating those positions, and none of the three players will be eligible for dual citizenship until next winter.
It means they could struggle to bring Jesus in, giving Arsenal a huge boost in their hopes of signing the striker.
Curse of the number nine
If Arsenal are successful in bringing in Gabriel Jesus, the forward will be hoping to break the curse of the Gunners’ number nine.
Nicolas Anelka was the last Arsenal player to truly shine in the shirt, with a long list of names who have struggled to make an impact at the club following him. Davor Suker, Francis Jeffers, the late Jose Antonio Reyes, Julio Baptista, Eduardo da Silva, Park Chu-Young, Lukas Podolski, Lucas Perez and Alexandre Lacazette have all failed to live up to their initial billings while wearing the number nine for Arsenal in recent years.
With Lacazette due to vacate the shirt when he departs the club on a free transfer when his contract expires, whoever Arsenal bring in to replace him will certainly hope they can have more success while wearing it than their recent predecessors.
Smith Rowe fails to hit target
Emile Smith Rowe failed to live up to the high expectations Mikel Arteta has of his number 10 last season.
The Arsenal midfielder’s year was far from being a failure, with Smith Rowe getting his first England call-up following his impressive start to the season. But his form tailed off in the second half as he failed to reach the 15 goals and 10 assists target Arteta has previously spoken about as his demands from whoever he deploys as his regular number 10.
Speaking towards the end of the 2020/21 campaign, Arteta said that any player who could manage those numbers would put them “right up there with the top guys in Europe”, and he’s bound to be hoping Smith Rowe can get a little closer next year and improve on his 10 goals and two assists.