There’s been no shortage of names linked with a move to north London in the last few weeks; Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Victor Osimhen, Gianluca Scamacca and even Paulo Dybala are all players who are reportedly on the Gunners transfer radar.
But Manchester City star Gabriel Jesus has seemingly emerged as the Londoner’s top target. The Brazilian hitman has unquestionable Premier League pedigree and would certainly tick a lot of boxes for Arteta, but the Spaniard may have to play the waiting game to land his top summer target.
Jesus hinted that he would only consider his future from next week after scoring in Brazil’s 5-1 win over South Korea on Thursday evening. Understandably, Jesus’ comments could leave some Gunners fans sitting uneasily; after all, the last time Arsenal played the waiting game for a striker, Dusan Vlahovic left them high and dry back at the end of January. Arteta and his side paid a heavy price for the Serbian’s snub as he joined Juventus, which did them no favours in their bid to qualify for the Champions League.
However, this time around, Arteta can afford to wait for his top target – and that’s mainly because of the emergence of Eddie Nketiah. The Hale End graduate stepped up with aplomb in the final weeks of the season when Alexandre Lacazette was firing blanks and is reportedly on the verge of committing his future to the club.
After bagging five goals in seven games, Nketiah has proven that he is capable of playing a bigger role for Arsenal next year; even if that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll automatically be Arteta’s main man. The fact that Arsenal have an adequate deputy who is capable of scoring regularly takes some of the heat off of Arteta as he plays the waiting game in pursuit of Jesus.
Back in January, the stakes were high. There were suspicions at the time that failing to land Vlahovic – or identifying an adequate alternative – could come back to haunt Arsenal in their bid to clinch a top-four finish. Ultimately, that did prove to be the case. But unlike back then, Arsenal have time on their side now.
Arteta hinted back in February that the club were not willing to sacrifice on quality in their bid to strengthen the squad. He said: “We have three strikers. We have Laca and we have Eddie with us and they are both more than capable of scoring goals and they have shown that over the years with us.
“Again, when we have to replace or improve the squad, it can only be with a player that we are certain of. First of all, that they’re the right person and the right character to join and then they’re a player with the quality to straight away impact the performance of the team and our capacity to build a future around him as well.”
Given that Jesus is by far the most exciting name to have been linked with the Gunners, it makes sense for Arsenal and Arteta to play the waiting game this time around.