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Simon Jordan queries the validity of Gabriel Jesus as Arsenal look to push in 2023-24

Club boss Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar have done exceptionally well to reinforce the senior squad with deals for Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurriën Timber, but for Jordan, that may not be enough.

Premier League runner-up remains firmly rooted under the punditry microscope this summer ahead of a 2023-24 campaign filled with expectation on the back of the Gunners’ previous domestic campaign that pushed eventual champions Manchester City to their limits.

Club boss Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar have done exceptionally well to reinforce the senior squad with deals for Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurriën Timber, while links persist surrounding possible further business for another defender as well as scope to suggest that the club could also be in for a wide forward before the summer concludes.

But for Simon Jordan, that may not be enough, as Arsenal, in his estimation, fall short with Gabriel Jesus leading the line at the Emirates.

When speaking on TalkSPORT, Jordan once again references a need for a 25-goal striker in order for the Gunners to be able to truly compete.

“He [Jesus] thrived for a period of time at Arsenal, um and he’s a very decent player. I’m not sure he’s the answer to all of Arsenal’s ails. I think they need a 25-goal-a-season striker. And I am not sure he’s it.”

“We’ve had this conversation about his mental approach, which is, playing for Brazil and being prepared or wanting to play out wide rather than down the middle, which you would think would be better for him because that’s where he is going to score more goals. And his tacit acceptance of being put into certain positions, but with Brazil, rather than being more competitive about where he wanted to play. And that might give you insight into his psyche.”

Notwithstanding Jordan’s assumptions surrounding Arteta’s motivations for bringing in Jesus last summer from league rivals Manchester City, the narrative that you need a striker to hit a certain amount of goals in order to achieve success has largely been disproven in recent seasons.

Of City’s recent three Premier League title-winning seasons, two of them featured a club-leading goalscorer that did not eclipse 15 goals on the domestic front. By comparison, for all of Harry Kane’s goalscoring exploits for Tottenham, the Spurs icon does not have a single piece of silverware to show for it on any competitive front.

Goals, so often – and correctly – viewed as currency, are indeed about volume, but less so about how you achieve a certain hit rate.

Arsenal bagged 88 goals in the Premier League last season, only six fewer than City, with three players accounting for 50% of that overall total. It is safe to say that such a goal rate (2.31/match) was more than enough to guide the club to the promised land, but rather, the club’s struggles in the defensive third during their late-season skid were much more to blame.

This also does not account for the fact that Jesus, who started the season so well, was laid up in drydock for a considerable period of time after being injured on international duty during the World Cup break, and the subsequent time he spent trying to get back up to speed after recovering stripped him of a chance to hit similar numbers to that of Martin Ødegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, and Bukayo Saka.

Despite his injury, Jesus still managed to score 11 goals in the league across at least ten fewer appearances and 1000 fewer minutes played while still being largely considered to be one of the main catalysts for Arsenal’s rapid progression in 2022-23. Suffice it to say, Jordan’s comments are, at the very least, misguided.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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