Sunday Mirror




GABRIEL JESUS can help take

Arsenal to another level, says club legend Alan Smith.

The Gunners signed him earlier this week after a £45million transfer was agreed with Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta knows the 25-year-old well from his stint as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad.

And the Brazil internatio­nal has proven Premier League pedigree with 95 goals for City in 236 appearance­s.

Jesus was snapped up after Alexandre Lacazette left north London on a free transfer for Lyon.

Lacazette’s exit came five months after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was allowed to join Barcelona.

And Smith (below), who won two league titles with Arsenal, reckons his former club have been conducting some savvy business.

“Aubameyang had reached the end of the road,” said Smith. “He wasn’t producing on the pitch. You wondered if he was focused enough, if he’d had his best years and was coasting a bit on his new contract.

“And Jesus is now an upgrade on Lacazette – he’s younger and quicker.

“Lacazette has worked really hard for Arsenal, but I saw signs that physically he couldn’t reach the levels needed in the Premier League and his goal output went down.

“Jesus is a player who comes in and will feel he’s got his best years ahead of him.

“He’s joining a club with a coach who knows him well, who has faith in him and who feels like he can improve the player.

“Jesus wasn’t playing through the middle consistent­ly at City. He was coming in and out, sometimes on the right-hand side and being asked to do different things.

“Mentally now, he can be a bit more focused on what is expected of him.”

Jesus will wear the No.9 shirt previously worn by Lacazette.

Smith, 59, who also had a lengthy stint with Leicester, believes Jesus’ eagerness to be given the shirt shows he’s keen to hit the ground running.

“It’s a big statement from the club that he’s been given the No.9 shirt and maybe from the player as well,” he said. “He accepted it – and maybe he asked for it.”

Smith, who would often wear the number during his time at Highbury, added: “You wear the No.9 and there is a pressure on you to perform and score goals. You hope he will thrive on that pressure – and I think it’s a really good signing.”

Smith was speaking on behalf of 888. Head to 888 now to play a range of exciting and entertaini­ng games.

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 ?? ?? FOCUSED Smith tips Jesus to succeed
FOCUSED Smith tips Jesus to succeed

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