Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus said he feels “free” playing under Mikel Arteta and that he decided to leave Manchester City this summer because he needed a change after five years at the Etihad Stadium under Pep Guardiola.
Jesus joined Arsenal from City for an initial £45 million this summer after failing to cement himself as a first-team regular with the Premier League champions.
The Brazil international started just over half of City’s Premier League games last season and when he was selected was often used as a wide forward with Guardiola preferring to utilize a false nine.
“The thing was the way [Guardiola] understands football and what he wanted,” Jesus told ESPN Brasil. “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.
“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.”
Jesus has made an impressive start to life at the Emirates, scoring four goals and adding three assists for an Arsenal team that sits top of the Premier League table after seven games.
The 25-year-old credits much of that to the style of play under Arteta, who previously coached Jesus during his time as Guardiola’s assistant at Man City.
“I talked a lot with Arteta about Arsenal’s style,” Jesus added. “He knows me, I know him, I understood what he wanted from me. Now, I’m free on the pitch, playing football with a smile on my face and trying to do my best all the time.”
Arsenal and Jesus will be looking to continue that strong start when taking on Tottenham in the north London derby on Saturday.
“All the players are talking about the derby,” Jesus said. “It’s all about the derby. ‘You’re going to see what a derby is. Derby, derby…'”
“I’ve had some experience of derbies, like when I played for Palmeiras, City and Brazil. So, I know what a derby is, but I never played one Arsenal versus Tottenham here. 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.”