The German midfielder has heaped praise upon his team-mate ahead of the Premier League leaders’ trip to Borussia Dortmund
Ilkay Gundogan has expressed his belief that Gabriel Jesus can become a “world-class striker” amid the ongoing rumours linking Erling Haaland with a move to Manchester City.
It has been reported that City will be on the lookout for a new striker in the summer transfer window, with club legend Sergio Aguero set to call time on his illustrious 10-year career at Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.
Gabriel Jesus is the only other natural centre-forward on Pep Guardiola’s books at the moment, and has yet to prove he can be the man to fill the Argentine’s boots in the long-term, but Gundogan has no doubts about his ability.
What’s been said?
Speaking ahead of the second leg of City’s Champions League quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund, Gundogan told reporters: “I feel like there are no limits for Gabi. He already did great in the years here and I don’t know if it has an influence on us or him that Sergio is leaving in terms of the game that Gabi plays. I really don’t know. What I know is that he brings everything to be a world-class striker.
“He has already done great in the years playing here, he is a great team-mate, he is still young with a lot of potential to improve as well but he is already playing really well and he is committed to the team and his game.
“I really believe that for him the future is very bright.”
Gundogan on Haaland
Haaland is being touted as the most likely man to succeed Aguero as City’s new No.9, having enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence since his switch to Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020.
Gundogan, who spent five years at Westfalenstadion before moving to the Etihad in 2016, believes the Norwegian is destined to reach the very highest level of the game after proving himself in both the Bundesliga and Champions League.
“I think he’s a great talent. He’s a great player and an exciting prospect,” said the German midfielder. “He scores a lot of goals, he is physically strong, he is quick and he is determined.
“This is what I see. He is able to hurt every single team he faces and his numbers are already outstanding – not just in the league but also in Europe.
“It is incredible and the fact he is so young still just shows that he will have a great future because he is already a great player. I don’t know him at all but it seems to be like he is bringing the right mindset to get to the top.”
The bigger picture
Gundogan’s glowing assessment of Jesus’ potential is backed up by the fact that the Brazilian has been a consistent source of goals for City since his arrival from Palmeiras in 2019.
Jesus has hit 81 goals in his first 186 appearances across all competitions, including 13 this term, and still has over two years left to run on his current contract.
The 24-year-old may not be quite as prolific as Haaland, but he has shown that he can perform in the Premier League, and Guardiola has already stated that he could end up sticking with his current crop of attackers for the 2021-22 campaign.
Haaland would likely cost City in excess of £100 million ($137m), and there is no guarantee he will be as effective in English football as he has been in Germany, with Jesus representing a lower-risk option for the Manchester outfit.