Brazil legend Rivaldo has suggested that compatriot Gabriel Jesus should consider leaving Manchester City for the betterment of his career after a season in which the young striker saw his role reduced.
After his arrival in January 2017 it was thought Jesus could supplant Sergio Aguero as City’s lead striker. But though he’s made the same number of league appearances, 29, this season as he did in 2017/18, he’s made less than half as many starts – eight compared to 19 the season before.
Across competitions, his productivity has stayed roughly the same, from 17 goals in 42 appearances in 2017/18 to 19 in 46 this season, and he’s scored three times in five FA Cup games heading into this weekend’s final, when City face Watford bidding for a domestic treble having won the Premier League and League Cup already in 2018/19.
But manager Pep Guardiola’s preference for formations with just one striker have seen Jesus become marginalised, especially after Raheem Sterling’s development into City’s premier star alongside Aguero, who has continued to be on top form and adjusted to playing under the Spanish manager.
Rivaldo believes Jesus could stay and fight for his place, and continue to develop under Guardiola, but that a move away would be a better solution.
“Gabriel Jesus wasn’t as influential this season as he was in the last one and I think he has two valid options for next season,” the former Brazil and Barcelona star said (h/t Goal.com).
“As a young prospect he could continue and keep evolving with Guardiola, hoping that more chances come, or he could leave for another club of similar stature to try to become a regular starting 11 player.
“I see the second option as the best solution. He already gained experience and maturity at City and looks prepared for a new challenge in a team where he could be more important for the team.”
Tottenham and Bayern Munich target Nicolo Zaniolo looks set to sign a new deal at Roma, dashing hopes that he could be on the move this summer.
Zaniolo, 19, joined as part of the swap deal that sent Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan last June and has impressed greatly across his 35 appearances in all competitions.
The twice-capped Italy international has bagged six goals in total, alerting some of Europe’s heavyweights, but the teenager looks likely to remain in the Eternal City for the foreseeable future after claiming he is happy at Stadio Olimpico
“I still have four years left on my contract and I’m happy here. I see my future at Roma,” Zaniolo told Sky Sport Italia.
“My agent will talk to the club at the end of the season.
“It’s always pleasing to have interest from great teams, but I’m focused on Roma and the last two league games.
“I’m positive about the [contract] renewal and I’m happy to stay.”
Zaniolo’s words will come as a relief to Roma after they announced Daniele De Rossi’s impending departure.
Roma will need Zaniolo to continue his eye-catching development next term as they seek to compensate for the loss of their iconic captain.
That is according to SPORT who claim the highly-coveted teenage centre-back will arrive at the Camp Nou this summer in a deal worth €70 million.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who got the deal for De Jong over the line, has reportedly taken charge of the De Ligt deal too, although it is believed nothing will be finalised until after the Copa del Rey final against Valencia in Seville on May 25.
Barca have long been keen on the Dutch club’s captain and have been in regular contact over recent months, but talks are said to be more complicated than with De Jong, mainly due to the fact De Ligt’s agent is Mino Raiola, who asks for huge amounts of commission and looks to start auctions on his players.
De Ligt’s desire, though, is clearly to follow De Jong to Catalonia, and he is believed to have turned down offers from Juventus and Bayern Munich.
De Ligt’s continued growth and performances with Ajax in the Champions League have extended the move due to other suitors going crazy and offering big money for De Ligt, more than Barca offered in their most recent meeting, allegedly.
But Barca, De Ligt and Raiola have met face to face on three occasions in three different cities.
SPORT have learned that the player’s intention is, once the Dutch season ends (Ajax have their final game on Wednesday and should win the title), to enjoy 10 days off before he has to join up with the Dutch national team on May 24.
Holland are preparing for the UEFA Nations League final four. They have England in the semi-final. Before that, De Ligt wants his future tied down.