Gabriel Jesus is in a particularly difficult position: supremely talented at the age of 22, but stuck in the shadow of — and on the bench behind — Sergio Aguero, arguably the best striker of the Premier League era and an all-time Manchester City legend.
Jesus would start 75 percent of the games at just about any club in the world, with one of the few exceptions being Man City. Having joined City at 19 years old in January 2017, Jesus was patient at the beginning as he knew Aguero still had many bright day ahead of him, but he also know — or, at least he thought — his time would come. Fast-forward a few years, and things haven’t quite gone according to plan, though Jesus hasn’t hated his time at the Etihad Stadium either — quotes from the Daily Mail:
“I’m over the ‘I have to wait (for a chance)’ phase. I’ve been here for almost three years, it’s my fourth season, and that makes me want to play more. Obviously it’s very hard to compete for a place with Aguero, the biggest legend of this club, although it’s good for the team — he plays well when in the team and I do the same.
“I do understand Pep’s decisions and respect Sergio, his history here and what he’s doing now.”
“People say that I’m a sub in a negative way but they forget I’m not in the bench due to bad performances. It’s because Aguero has been superb. I’ve learnt not how to wait but how to understand this situation. Personally, last season was very hard. I didn’t get the chance to play in many games and many important games.”
“It does hurt when you don’t get chances in important games so I was disappointed at the end of last season. I think that’s normal and I’ve never been unprofessional about it. I was very upset but I did understand.
“I kept my mind in the right place and finished the season playing a (FA Cup) final and scoring twice. During my holidays, I could see ahead and project this season differently. I’ve played six games so far, playing well and scoring goals. That’s my focus, I don’t want to steal anyone’s spot in the first team. Things happen naturally.”
While Jesus has 28 PL goals to his name (in 70 appearances, roughly 50-50 in starts and substitute appearances), Aguero is still (somehow) only 31 years old (he’ll be 32 before next season). It could be a little while longer before Jesus steps into the primary he sees himself playing.
If he can’t wait that long at City, the list of clubs who’ll gladly see him parachute in and take up their starting no. 9 job will be miles and miles long.