Pep Guardiola has perfect plan for replacing Gabriel Jesus at Man City

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Gabriel Jesus’ imminent move to Arsenal is a major blow for Manchester City, but his traits can be replicated by Julian Alvarez, who has been generating a lot of excitement in South America for a good while.

After five years of service, the Brazilian has all-but completed a reported £50million transfer to Arsenal in the search of regular football. He’s scored 95 goals in all competitions for City, but really failed to nail down a spot in the starting line-up after Sergio Agüero’s departure.

His quality on the ball was excellent. But what made Jesus so important was his work off the ball.

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His dogged pressing was the reason he was picked for some of City’s most crucial games under Pep Guardiola. Last season, he started in both legs of the Champions League semi-final, both fixtures against Liverpool in the Premier League and on the pivotal final day against Aston Villa.

Guardiola’s footballing style all starts with pressing from the front and Jesus has taken that on from the moment he stepped onto the field as a City player. Many supporters will remember his debut against Spurs, where everyone thought the young striker had come off the bench to score the winner — but was just denied by the offside flag.

Phil Foden of Man City is awarded with the PFA’s Young Player of the Year following yet another incredible season across the 2021/22 campaign.
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The hype Jesus brought with him from Brazil feels similar to what Alvarez is now bringing from Argentina. The 22-year-old has been scoring goals galore in the Copa Libertadores, but what has impressed everyone is his constant buzz of energy in the front line — something that will also encourage Guardiola,

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If you add Sterling’s potential departure to the mix, the Catalan loses a lot of his core principles and will have to find them similar traits in his replacements for the two forwards. Alvarez has been brought in to score goals primarily, but he could also be used on either wing to continue the manager’s philosophy. His versatility will be important in that regard, especially if options in that area become limited.

Despite rumours he may be sent back to River Plate until January — similar to Jesus in 2017 — it looks like City are keen to bring Alvarez into the squad this month and integrate the youngster into the side in pre-season. With a full two months under his belt, the manager will know what his new signing can bring to the squad next season.

At 22, there is still lots of room for Alvarez to develop, but Guardiola will hope he can make an instant impact in such a hectic World Cup-filled season. Games will be coming thick and fast, so the Argentine international will certainly enjoy a lot of game-time and will want to show Europe why he has attracted so much attention.

We’re likely to see Alvarez in action for the first time at the end of July, when City face Club América in their first pre-season friendly in the United States. It will be worth watching.

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