Man City: Why Gabriel Jesus is not ready to replace Sergio Aguero yet

Match of the Day 2 analysis

Gabriel Jesus has made quite a start to his Manchester City career but I would be wary of going overboard about how good a player he is just yet.

Jesus has scored three goals in two Premier League starts, and against Swansea he looked sharp and lively - a player who works hard and can finish, and has ability on the ball so can bring others into play too.

I am delighted for him, but he is only 19 and he is getting what all youngsters get when they arrive in the Premier League - that circus-type scenario where everyone just seems to jump on board and describe a player as the new best thing that has ever happened.

'Nobody knows what kind of player Jesus can be yet'

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Guardiola praises 'fighter' Gabriel Jesus

There has been a lot of hype about Jesus but, although he is clearly a very talented player, I have not seen anything that has really blown me away in the way the likes of Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen did when they burst on to the scene.

Part of that is because nobody knows what kind of player Jesus can be yet. Even Guardiola came out with an analogy this week comparing him to a watermelon that you have to cut open to see whether it is good or not.

Jesus has been compared to Neymar back in Brazil but, for all we really know at the moment, he might just be a 'right place, right time' person - a goal poacher. We will have to wait to find out.

Don't get me wrong, I love to see young players get their chance and he has taken this opportunity brilliantly so soon after a move to a different country. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

But the point I am trying to make is related to his situation at City, and the player whose place he has taken in their attack.

I have not seen enough from Jesus to think he is a better striker than Sergio Aguero, or is good enough to replace him. Not yet, at least.

'Aguero is not the kind of player to sit on City's bench'

Aguero (l) on the Man City bench
Aguero (l) was on the City bench until the 83rd minute against Swansea

Jesus got Manchester City out of jail with his late winner against Swansea on Sunday but I still find it hard to believe that there is no room for Aguero in Guardiola's side.

If the situation continues, there is only one thing that is going to happen - Aguero will leave in the summer. He is not the kind of player that is going to sit on City's bench.

The Argentina striker's comments after the Swansea game basically said that if City want to keep him, then they will show it.

If I were in his situation, I would be sitting there thinking that this manager does not want me, and it is time for me to leave.

I don't think anybody at City, from fans to staff, could argue that Aguero is not within his rights to say that because, if there is anyone in their squad who deserves a starting place, it is him.

Aguero is not having a great season by his high standards, but I would put that down to the way he has been managed.

Based on the way he has been treated, like being dropped for City's Champions League game against Barcelona in October for example, you cannot blame him for feeling frustrated.

He has not been poor - he has still scored 18 goals in all competitions - he has just not been the lethal player we know.

City with/without Aguero

Since he joined City in 2011, Aguero has been one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen, so there is no way you can tell me they are better without him.

The statistics we showed on MOTD2 would suggest that is the case, based on the past couple of seasons.

But as I explained on the show, those percentages in the table above do not reflect who they were playing.

For example, in 2015-16, City played nine Premier League games without Aguero. They won five of them, and lost only two.

But four of those five wins came against teams who were 16th or lower, and they were games City were expected to win anyway.

Man City without Aguero 2015-16
Opposition/VenueDateOpposition positionResult
WBA (a)10 Aug(opening weekend)W 3-0
Bournemouth (h)17 Oct17thW 5-1
Man Utd (a)25 Oct4thD 0-0
Norwich (h)31 Oct16thW 2-1
Aston Villa (a)8 Nov20thD 0-0
Stoke (a)5 Dec10thL 2-0
Swansea (h)12 Dec16thW 2-1
Sunderland (h)26 Dec19thW 4-1
Southampton (a)1 May7thL 4-2

Jesus selection worked to perfection - for player and manager

Reuters
Jesus celebrates scoring City's winner with Pablo Zabaleta

It is not a massive surprise to see Aguero treated this way because Guardiola has done it before, with Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Barcelona.

There were times when Guardiola played without a main striker at all, just to get his team to play the way he wants to play.

We have seen Jurgen Klopp do similar at Liverpool when Roberto Firmino leads their attack. Firmino is more than an attacking midfielder but you would still not describe him as an out-and-out striker.

Jesus is similar, with his movement and his work-rate, and his selection is clearly down to him fitting into the system that Guardiola is trying to implement.

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West Ham 0-4 Manchester City: Pep Guardiola excited by young strikers

At the moment the kid is on a crest of a wave and things are working out for him to perfection - and for his manager too.

Two of the biggest calls I have seen by any manager this season have been by Guardiola, to leave out a player with Aguero's reputation in City's last two games, against Swansea and West Ham.

This is a player whose goals have helped City win two titles - but Guardiola has left him out twice in a week, and won both games.

He says Aguero is still part of his plans but if he is looking to the future then you could understand if he isn't, no matter what he has contributed to the club in the past.

What next? Real Madrid, Chelsea… or Man Utd?

Aguero is understandably not happy but I believe him when he says he will give everything for the team when he is needed for the rest of the season.

Like Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez or Barcelona's Luis Suarez, Aguero is a born winner - you are always going to get the best out of him when he is out on the pitch.

Right now the biggest clubs in the world will be rubbing their hands, thinking they might be able to sign him. He turns 29 in June and is at the peak of his powers.

Who would want him? Who wouldn't, if they can afford him? Real Madrid would take him in the blink of an eye if they could.

Chelsea must be thinking that if Diego Costa leaves them in the summer then they would take Aguero. Even Manchester United must be watching the situation too.

Carlos Tevez moved across Manchester when he left United so it is not impossible to go the other way and, if Aguero leaves City, it will be because they were willing to let him go.

Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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