The Spanish boss hopes the Brazilian will remain at the Etihad Stadium in the long term, despite being behind Sergio Aguero in the pecking order
Manchester City will try to retain Gabriel Jesus’ services for “as long as possible”, according to Pep Guardiola.
Jesus signed for City from Palmeiras in the summer of 2016 for a reported £27 million ($35m) fee, and spent the remainder of the year on loan with the Brazilian club before joining his new team-mates in Manchester the following January.
The 22-year-old netted seven times in his first 10 outings for City, impressing with his predatory instincts in the final third and fearlessness in possession.
Jesus went on to contribute 13 goals and three assists in 29 Premier League appearances as City stormed to the title in 2017-18, solidifying his reputation as one of the most promising young forwards in Europe.
However, despite helping City win a domestic treble the following season, the Brazil international failed to kick on to the next level individually and was unable to knock Sergio Aguero out of Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up.
Jesus has continued to play second fiddle to Aguero this term, but will likely be handed the chance to shine in the upcoming games while the Argentine recovers from a tendon injury.
Ahead of City’s home clash with Shakhtar Donestk in the Champions League on Tuesday, Guardiola has expressed his pleasure that the Brazilian chose to remain in Manchester and fight for a regular place in the team.
“When he arrived, his energy, his impact immediately seduced us. I was incredibly impressed,” the City boss told a press conference on Monday.
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“After the injuries, it came at his best moment. He extended his contract, and when a guy extends his contract it’s because he wants to stay here.
“The situation he has with Sergio, he knew that before he extended the contract. My advice to him and we told him ‘if you are not sure about that position, you don’t have to extend the contract, you can go other places’.
“He said ‘no, I want to stay here’. He has his future is in his hands. He’s young, he’s going to play for many years, he’s the No.9 for Brazil with Firmino.
“I think they are incredibly complementary. Of course, Sergio will retire sooner than Gabriel and I hope he will stay longer, but, at the end, the desire for the players will decide.
“We’ll do everything to keep him here as long as possible.”
Guardiola has confirmed that Aguero will likely miss upcoming fixtures against Newcastle and Burnley, along with a hotly anticipated Manchester derby on December 7.
Jesus will, therefore, have plenty of opportunities to add to his tally of three Premier League goals, while also helping City chase down runaway leaders Liverpool.
The reigning champions are nine points behind the Reds after 13 fixtures, but a 2-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday showed it is still far too early to dismiss their chances of landing a third successive title come May.