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Pep Guardiola certain Gabriel Jesus will be Manchester City's striker for 'many years to come'

The Manchester City manager said he was delighted the young striker joined the club despite the interest of 'big clubs' and said the striker's rise was not dissimilar to Lionel Messi's

Luke Brown
Friday 05 May 2017 22:40 BST
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Guardiola has been delighted with the Brazilian's sudden impact
Guardiola has been delighted with the Brazilian's sudden impact (Getty)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed his delight at warding off interest from the “big clubs” to sign Gabriel Jesus, and claimed that there are parallels between the youngster's sudden impact in the Premier League and Lionel Messi’s breakthrough at Barcelona.

City beat Barcelona to the signing of the 20-year-old Brazilian forward, who joined from Palmeiras for an initial £27m.

Jesus remained on loan at the club until December, before he joined up with his new team-mates and made a sudden impact in England’s top-flight.

The forward — long regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Brazilian football — scored on his full Premier League derby and has since gone on to score four times in six league appearances, while proving an instant hit with the City fanbase.

And even Guardiola has admitted to being surprised with how quickly the youngster has adapted to the quicker, more physical English game.

“Before we got him, we expected a lot of things, but not that impact as soon as possible,” Guardiola said at his weekly news conference, ahead of Manchester City’s league match against relegation-threatened Crystal Palace. “He will be the future striker in this club for the next years.”

When asked whether he had managed any other young players who went on to make such a sudden impression, Guardiola brought up Messi, who first made his breakthrough at Barcelona aged just 18.

“There have not been many — especially the good ones who make a good impact,” Guardiola replied when asked about young players of a similar pedigree to Jesus.

“Not many at all. Lionel Messi, for example, we took at 18, 19 years old and he scored 40 league goals in a year. The top players are top players.

“Sometimes we talk about needing more time, but when you are good, you maybe don't need time. Some players come here in the Premier League and the first season and the second season are difficult and then — wow!

"Of course, when you buy a player you never know, his relationship with his team-mates, there are many, many things. That is the secret.”

Jesus has taken no time to adjust to the Premier League (Getty)

Guardiola also spoke of his delight that Jesus had decided to pick Manchester City even though a number of Europe’s top markets had expressed an interest in signing him.

“When we decided to buy Gabriel, Gabriel had a lot, a lot of friends to go, a lot of teams. But he decided to come here, which was so happy for us. I'm very pleased about that,” Guardiola said.

Guardiola feared a bigger club may poach the striker (Getty)

“Always we believe, you have to make the players want to choose you as a club. You want them to show they want to come and join you. That is also so, so important and Gabriel took that step with us.

“If he had waited one more year in Brazil, then maybe there would have been the big clubs who have played a lot of years in the Champions League with a long history, but he decided he wanted to come here. I love that. He decided to come here and that's why I want to have him."

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