Soccer

Gabriel Jesus ‘doesn’t care’ about rumours linking Arsenal with other strikers

Gabriel Jesus claimed the second of Arsenal’s six goals against French club Lens (John Walton/PA)
Gabriel Jesus claimed the second of Arsenal’s six goals against French club Lens (John Walton/PA) Gabriel Jesus claimed the second of Arsenal’s six goals against French club Lens (John Walton/PA)

Gabriel Jesus is unconcerned about Arsenal reportedly coveting other strikers as he seeks to stay fit and translate his prolific Champions League form into the Premier League.

Brazil international Jesus took his European tally to four goals in as many appearances by claiming the Gunners’ second in Wednesday evening’s 6-0 demolition of French side Lens.

Yet the former Manchester City forward has found the net just once in the top-flight this term amid absences due to knee and hamstring injuries.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been linked with potential moves for Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Brentford’s Ivan Toney, in addition to an audacious bid to sign Paris St Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Jesus dismissed the significance of the transfer speculation and insisted he offers more than just goals as he defended his scoring record.

“This happens you know, maybe it can be agents talking about a lot of things,” he said.

“I’m not the most experienced, but I think I have seen a lot of things in football.

“Sometimes it is like this, it happened when I was at City even with (Sergio) Aguero and me scoring. I was scoring a lot and people was linking everyone. So here, I don’t care about this.

Arsenal have been linked with an audacious move for Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe
Arsenal have been linked with an audacious move for Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe Arsenal have been linked with an audacious move for Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“I know my qualities and I know what I can bring to the team. I can score and I can also help with other things, like opening spaces. But the only people who can see it are those who watch the game and understand.

“Those who don’t understand we will say that: ‘Oh he didn’t score today’. But maybe I run and open space for someone and, let’s be honest, I don’t miss a lot of chances.

“I think it is not about ‘he doesn’t know how to score’. Sometimes I have to be more in the box, that is the one thing I am working on.”

Premier League leaders Arsenal booked a Champions League last-16 spot as Group B winners with a thumping midweek win at Emirates Stadium.

Jesus assisted Kai Havertz’s opener and then doubled the advantage with a composed finish before Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard added further first-half finishes, prior to Jorginho’s late penalty.

Arsenal v RC Lens – UEFA Champions League – Group B – Emirates Stadium
Arsenal v RC Lens – UEFA Champions League – Group B – Emirates Stadium Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

The 26-year-old feels comments he made last week regarding his goal-scoring ability in the aftermath of his country’s World Cup qualifying defeat to rivals Argentina were misinterpreted.

“I spoke after the game against Argentina – and people don’t understand sometimes and people took it out of context and said ‘Gabi, his strong point isn’t scoring’,” he said.

“I said this, but not in that way. I have other qualities as well, but I can score guys!

“Obviously I want to score every game, if it’s possible a hat-trick. But that’s not the reality.

“Now my main target is to keep fit because I know I can help everyone here. I’m sleeping better, I’m eating better.”

Jesus was a Champions League runner-up with City in 2021 and says the Gunners – beaten finalists in 2006 – must believe they can go all the way in the tournament.

“If you talk about experience in this competition, Arsenal have reached the final in their history,” he said.

“They didn’t win but Arsenal is big. Arsenal can go and face strong teams, playing good. That is enough to believe.

“First we have to believe and then go there and try to win the games.”