Mikel Arteta believes Gabriel Jesus has the ability to become a prolific goalscorer for Arsenal.
Jesus has scored just 16 times in 47 matches since his £45million move from Manchester City last year and launched a passionate defence of his game last week and insisted he brings more to the table than just goals.
Arsenal, who are looking to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a win at Luton tonight, are in the market for attacking reinforcements next summer.
Arteta has praised Jesus for his all-round game, but wants the Brazilian, who has scored only one League goal this season, to improve his finishing.
The 26-year-old has managed to score more than 20 times in a season on three occasions, while his best tally for a Premier League campaign is 14.
“We need goals from him, that’s for sure,” said Arteta (right, yesterday). “He has scored a lot of goals for us and he can still improve in that aspect, like he can improve in other aspects.
“He knows that and he is trying to do that, but there is so much that he gives that it is difficult to put a number on. But I am really happy with his overall performances.
“The reason why he hasn’t done it as well, he hasn’t had the consistency and enough minutes, probably when he was at City as well, to produce those numbers that you need to be doing. But I think he has the ability to do that, for sure.”
Arsenal have made a new midfielder their transfer priority next month and are expected to move for an attacker in the summer.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney is keen on a move to Emirates Stadium, while Arsenal have scouted Feyenoord forward Santiago Gimenez and remain admirers of Wolves winger Pedro Neto.
Arsenal want to add to their squad in January, but they spent heavily in the summer and David Raya’s move from Brentford was done as a loan for financial reasons.
Raya has become Arsenal’s No1 goalkeeper and it has led to interest in Aaron Ramsdale, who was told by England manager Gareth Southgate that his place in the squad for Euro 2024 would be in doubt if he does not play.
Newcastle have emerged as an option for Ramsdale after they lost Nick Pope to a shoulder injury at the weekend. Pope is expected to be out for months and may not even play again this season.
Arteta, however, has insisted he wants to keep Ramsdale — although he stopped short of guaranteeing the goalkeeper will be with Arsenal after the January transfer window.
The Gunners are in a strong position with Ramsdale, as the 25-year-old signed a new contract in May until 2026 that also contains the option to extend it by a further 12 months.
“I want Aaron with us,” Arteta said. “I am very happy to have two very good goalkeepers and Aaron is staying with us. I won’t say that no player is going to go to Newcastle, or no member of the staff.
I cannot guarantee that nobody is going to be leaving in January
Mikel Arteta on Aaron Ramsdale
“I cannot guarantee that nobody is going to be leaving in January, for Newcastle or any other club. Like any player, Aaron wants to play for Arsenal.
“As for England, it’s not like he has started a lot of games, so hopefully we can help him be better here so then he can play for England. We want to be better, so we want to add. That’s the intention.”
Arsenal can extend their lead at the top of the League, with Liverpool and Manchester City not in action until tomorrow.
The Gunners are expected to be without Takehiro Tomiyasu, who suffered a calf injury during Saturday’s win over Wolves.
Ben White, who is close to signing a new contract, is due to come into the team after recovering from a knee issue.
“He’s feeling perfect and back to fitness,” said Arteta. “He played some minutes and he’s now in a good place.”
Kai Havertz is pushing to come into the side in midfield in place of Leandro Trossard after he was on the bench against Wolves.