Gabriel Jesus has given Arsenal fans huge reason to be optimistic since joining from Man City.
It may have been just the pre-season, which counts for absolutely nothing, but that didn’t stop the fans from getting a little carried away before the start of the new Premier League campaign.
They kick off the 2022/23 season with a trip to Selhurst Park on Friday to take on Crystal Palace, live on talkSPORT, who happen to be managed by Gunners legend Patrick Vieira.
Mikel Arteta has been busy in the transfer market with Fabio Vieira, Oleksandr Zinchenko and the marquee addition of Jesus for £45million.
It was a position Arsenal were desperate to reinforce following the departure of Alexandre Lacazette and the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January.
A real threat to score goals down the middle is what they missed and the hope and expectation is that Jesus can provide that.
He showed how deadly he can be in pre-season. He managed to score seven times in five appearances, culminating with a hat-trick against Sevilla in a 6-0 thrashing on Saturday.
There’s a huge expectation on Jesus’ shoulders, but being a Brazilian striker, he’s used to it now.
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Ronaldo is a huge fan and even drew comparisons between him and the striker before Man City rushed to sign him from Palmeiras.
Ronaldo told Globo TV: “I’m a fan of Gabriel because I watch him and see myself when I was younger.
“I see a lot of similarities between us.”
High praise from someone who is an undisputed icon in Brazil, delivered two World Cups for his country and has the second-most goals in World Cup history with 15.
With Qatar 2022 on the horizon this winter, moving away from Man City made sense following the signing of Erling Haaland.
Jesus will have a point to prove at the next World Cup, having failed to find the net in 2018. A record that has weighed heavily on him as he plays for a nation that awaits success.
He said Globo TV“I went to the World Cup as a key player and ended up not scoring. It affects you.
“I was marked by that. People will always remember Gabriel who did not score in the World Cup.”
Success with the national team is something he will desperately dream of, having grown up dreaming of becoming a professional footballer for Brazil.
He played football in 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 he revealed the extraordinary efforts he put into playing.
“The land was inside Romao Gomes prison but it belonged to the police and it wasn’t far from the bad guys,” he told FourFourTwo in 2017.
“Only the police were playing there. I was never afraid of anything there. Well, I used to get there very early in the morning.
“Several times I left the house around 5 or 6 in the morning.”
Even though he is now a big superstar, he has not forgotten his humble beginnings. He and his Brazilian teammate Neymar got tattoos of a boy from the favelas who dreams of becoming a footballer.
His former neighborhood hasn’t forgotten him either, with a huge 100ft mural of the striker decorating the side of houses next to a football pitch.
Jesus’ story is one that almost every Brazilian kid aspires to, ranging from kicking a ball in the street to signing for one of the best teams in the country – Palmeiras.
He then moved to Man City to work with one of the best managers in world football in Pep Guardiola, and won four Premier League titles.
The striker also won a gold medal with Brazil in 2016 and already has 56 caps for his country, while he still has just 25.
Now Arsenal will hope he can continue that success at his new club and the signs are clear already in pre-season.
Rangers legend Ally McCoist has admitted he can understand why Gunners fans are optimistic ahead of the new campaign.
He told talkSPORT: “I have to say I like the signings. I really do. Zinchenko is another one who really impressed.
“Jesus, I know it’s only pre-season but if you’re a goalscorer you want to feel the ball hit the back of the net as quickly as possible and it does.
“Looks like he’s settled in and they’re reasonably strong defensively. You can understand the optimism of Arsenal supporters.
But now that pre-season is over, he’ll have to get to work impressing a notoriously hard-to-please fan base.
The Premier League is back and talkSPORT has it covered, with games on Friday, Saturday and Monday, starting with Crystal Palace against Arsenal on August 5
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