Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has revealed that Gabriel Jesus turned down Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid to move to the Etihad Stadium.
Jesus has made an immediate impact for City scoring three goals and providing an assist in his three Premier League appearances so far, including inspiring Pep Guardiola's team to a late 2-1 victory over Swansea City last weekend.
Barcelona and Madrid wanted Jesus
"I just asked him to choose City – to come here. I talked to him and was honest with him," Fernandinho said, asked about whether he spoke to Jesus before his move.
He added: "A lot of big teams wanted to sign him, especially Barcelona and Real Madrid. I just told him ‘look, you can take the team sheets of Barcelona and Madrid and see what player of 19 years old plays there in the starting 11'."
Fernandinho further revealed that he told Jesus that City manager Guardiola "loves to have young players in the team" and "to give this opportunity for young players."
The Brazil international declared: "I said to him ‘you will have the opportunity to play here. Maybe not in the starting 11 all the time, but to come on regularly’. He made his choice. I just talked to him as a friend."
Can Jesus maintain his form?
However, Fernandinho also said earlier in the week that he expects Jesus’ performance levels to drop after a scintillating start to life at the Etihad Stadium.
Jesus grabbed a brace in City’s 2-1 victory over Swansea this past weekend – a crucial victory which moved the Citizens back into the top-four of the Premier League.
The Brazilian was also on the scoresheet in a 4-0 rout over West Ham United earlier in the week, providing an assist for Kevin De Bruyne’s goal.
The 19-year-old has managed to relegate long-time first choice striker Sergio Aguero to the bench in recent weeks, but it is likely that Guardiola will try them as a strike duo in the coming weeks.
City’s title challenge
Jesus’ arrival has sparked Manchester City back into life with Guardiola’s men now unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions. City have lost just one game since the turn of the year – a 4-0 demolition at the hands of Everton.
City now sit third in the Premier League but still trail league leaders Chelsea by ten points. They do have a three-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Liverpool however.
Guardiola’s side travel to Bournemouth on Monday night before they facing Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup followed by a home game against Monaco in the Champions League.