Gabriel Jesus may have become one of Arsenal 's top targets for the summer transfer window but Pep Guardiola is reportedly keen to keep him at Manchester City.
The Gunners will be in the market for a new striker with Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette set to leave the Emirates Stadium. Jesus, meanwhile, is about to enter the final year of his contract at City, marking him out as a potential option.
The Brazilian has scored 13 goals and notched 12 assists to help City to the top of the Premier League table and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. But he has frequently been reported to be frustrated over his amount of playing time.
With City having completed the signing of Erling Haaland, Jesus' opportunities look set to decrease again. With the Norwegian's imminent arrival in mind, Jesus could attempt to move on this summer, especially with his contract entering its final year.
But while Arsenal are heavily interested in taking him off City's hands, it would appear the table toppers are less keen to see him leave. According to ESPN, City boss Guardiola would 'prefer to keep' Jesus rather than sell to the Gunners.
While the Spaniard will not stand in the way of an exit if Jesus demands one, City are making the chances of a deal less likely. It is stated that they have slapped a £55million price tag on the 25-year-old following 'initial contact' from Arsenal.
But that is a figure that has left the Gunners 'weighing up their options' after baulking at City's demands. The hefty fee is said to be based on City's 'respect' for the striker and is also an attempt to recoup the £52m they are paying Borussia Dortmund for Haaland.
While negotiations between the clubs are stalling over the price tag, it appears that talks with Jesus himself are progressing well. The striker's agent Marcelo Pettinati confirmed last week that discussions had taken place.
“We had talks with Arsenal about Gabriel Jesus. We like the project – it’s a possibility we’re discussing. There are six more clubs interested in Gabriel. He’s focused on the final games with Man City; we’ll see,” he told The Guardian.
Arsenal's likely lack of participation in next season's Champions League may also lead to Guardiola getting his wish to see Jesus stay. It is stated that missing out on the top four will make a move for Jesus 'harder to pull off'.
The Gunners will now wait until after the final game of the season before making their next move, though Arteta is said to be a 'huge admirer' of Jesus. Whether that leads to a deal is unknown at this stage, though Guardiola will certainly hope he stays.
The City boss made it clear last month that he viewed Jesus' contributions as being crucial to his side's success. He said: "What we have done this season we have done with Gabriel, Gabriel is one of the best. But every player is happy here when they play all the time 90 minutes every game.
“Maybe at the end of the season he says, ‘No I don’t want to sign the contract’, (or) we convince him to stay, maybe he decides, ‘I want more minutes, I want to leave’. Nobody knows. Now I don’t care. I want focus, we have seven games left, potentially eightgames, we have less than one month, that’s all.”