In pictures: Man City v Norwich
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hinted that Gabriel Jesus could see increased game-time, despite the club’s pursuit of Harry Kane. The Premier League champions are understood to have made Kane their top priority for the final weeks of the summer transfer window.
They have so far struggled to match Tottenham’s demand of £150million in return for the England captain.
Kane has three years left on his contract at Spurs, but with the club appearing as far away from winning a trophy as ever, the 28-year-old has demanded an exit.
He was late back from the holiday he was allowed to take following his exploits at Euro 2020, with the striker yet to appear this season.
With Tottenham’s high asking price, City appear to be the only club with the financial muscle it will take to buy him.
Questions were asked last week during City’s defeat to Spurs, with many believing Guardiola’s squad was crying out for a striker.
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Currently, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres are the two main options through the middle for Guardiola.
But the former has struggled to impress since joining from Palmeiras five years ago, never scoring more than 15 goals in a Premier League season.
With Jesus having struggled through the middle, Guardiola has opted for a new approach to playing the Brazilian.
Against Norwich City on Saturday, Jesus was played on the right wing, with the 24-year-old impressing in his new role.
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Jesus has previously found game time hard to come by under Guardiola, but gave the Spaniard pause for thought by assisting both Jack Grealish’s and Raheem Sterling’s goals in the hammering of the Canaries.
Following the 5-0 win, Guardiola made a heavy hint that Jesus will be regularly involved as City look to defend their crown.
“He has so much importance for me. It’s not just when he makes an exceptional performance like today, it’s every day,” he said.
“He deserves to continue playing, when a guy plays in this way he deserves to play again. He is a player who likes to play more wide than central positions. But he never complains.
“He never disrespects his team-mates. If he plays five minutes, he plays the best five minutes he can do. Play right he is happy, play central he is happy, play left he is happy.
“I am very pleased with the performance he has made; an incredibly important player for us.”
That desire to play wherever Guardiola picks him could be crucial for City if they are not able to bring in Kane before the end of the window.
Jesus’ versatility will allow City to have more flexibility with their front line, something which without the focal point that Kane would be is thought to be the tactic that Guardiola will utilise.
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