Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus has claimed he feels ‘free on the pitch’ under Mikel Arteta and admits he could no longer ‘accept’ Pep Guardiola’s style of football at Man City.
The Brazilian forward has been a revelation at the Emirates since making a £45million switch from the Etihad Stadium in July and has quickly become one of the first names on the Arsenal team-sheet.
Ahead of this weekend’s North London derby, the 25-year-old has now revealed that he enjoys the ‘different ways to play’ in Arteta’s Arsenal system, compared to what was asked of him under Guardiola.
Speaking to ESPN Brasil, Jesus said: ‘The thing was the way [Guardiola] understands football and what he wanted. Then it was up to you to accept it or not. If you don’t accept it, “thank you” and let’s go for another challenge.
‘I accepted it for a while, but there came a moment when I said: “I want another thing for myself.” I thanked him, “thanks for everything,” he understood, and we moved on.’
The 25-year-old called an end to his four-and-a-half year stint at the Etihad Stadium earlier this summer, after the club bolstered their attack with the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.
Jesus continued: ‘It is different here at Arsenal. The football is different – different players, different ways to play. At City, it was different. The striker didn’t touch the ball that much, you see this by watching the games.
‘And, when it was time to touch the ball, it was not the striker, because [Guardiola] ended up putting a midfielder to come closer. OK, fine. So, I decided to change.’
He added that he talked ‘a lot’ to Arteta about Arsenal’s style before joining and that being able to be ‘free on the pitch’ made a switch to north London attractive.
‘I’m free on the pitch, playing football with a smile on my face and trying to do my best all the time,’ he said.
The Arsenal No 9 has already registered four goals and three assists across seven Premier League games so far for the Gunners, compared to his eight goals and eight assists during the entirety of City’s last campaign.
Arsenal’s next challenge sees them host local rivals Tottenham in the North London derby on Saturday afternoon, which Jesus is looking forward to.
Having experienced fierce derbies with Palmeiras, Manchester City and Brazil, he is under no illusions of the intensity he is going to face on Saturday lunchtime.
‘I know what a derby is, but I never played one Arsenal versus Tottenham here,’ he added. ‘So, it will be my first and I hopefully to get the win, not only in my first but all the derbies that I will play.’