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Gabriel Jesus will answer Mikel Arteta’s key question before Arsenal complete transfer



As Arsenal close in on a move for Gabriel Jesus, the Brazilian is closer to finally settling the debate on his best position.

When he signed for Manchester City from Palmeiras back in 2017, there was little apparent debate. City were signing a striker – a prolific one, too, with a 20-goal season under his belt at the age of just 19.

There have been plenty of moments in which the argument seemed settled, too. Gabriel Jesus might not have been Pep Guardiola’s first choice – especially when Sergio Aguero was at his best – but he was still unquestionably a number nine.

The most recent season cast some doubt, though. And now, as he prepares to trade the Etihad for the Emirates Stadium in a £45m deal, the 25-year-old will settle matters beyond a shadow of a doubt.

While Gabriel Jesus had found himself forced to move wide in previous seasons, it became more of a concrete role for him at the start of the 2021-22 campaign. At the time, he made the right noises, demonstrating his commitment to the cause, but there’s no need for politeness now.

“For you guys it might have looked different, but for me no, because I’m playing like a winger in Brazil for the national team for the last two years,” he said in August 2021. “For me to play on the right wing is more normal now. I can help my team with runs in behind, I can help the defenders, that’s all.”

That wasn’t always the case, though. He has had some difficult times as a more orthodox striker at international level – notably drawing a blank at the 2018 World Cup – and a move out wide has allowed him to take stock and enjoy some time out of the firing line while playing himself back into form. He can’t do that forever, though, and now is the time to decide what he will be , separate from what he has been .

In recent seasons, Arsenal found themselves using the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in wide roles despite the pair being nominally signed as goalscorers.

While the former has a record of threatening from wide starting spots, it often felt more like a square peg in a round hole as far as Lacazette was concerned.

There will undoubtedly be questions over Eddie Nketiah’s role, with the academy graduate putting pen to paper on a long-term deal and taking Aubameyang’s old number 14 shirt. Nketiah is more of an in-the-box striker, too, so it’s hard to see him being quite as effective from a starting position out wide.

Still, Arsenal will have more games this term due to their Europa League qualification, and the sight of one established central striker doesn’t mean they won’t use Gabriel Jesus in the same role.

What’s more, it’s not as if Arteta doesn’t know what he’s getting. He worked with the former Palmeiras man when serving as part of Guardiola’s coaching team, and will have seen plenty of what Gabriel Jesus can do.

At 25 years of age, Gabriel Jesus has more top-level experience than a number of other players his age. However, he is no longer just a prospect, and the money Arsenal are preparing to spend speaks to that.

Mikel Arteta needs to be sure of the kind of player he’s going to welcome to north London before getting the deal over the line. Gabriel Jesus surely knows this himself, and now’s the time to make that as clear as possible.


Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag




Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club




Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer




Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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