Manchester City have beaten Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain to the signing of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Jesus.
Barcelona were the favourites Gabriel for most of the summer but City have beaten them to it, announcing the 19-year-old’s capture on Wednesday afternoon. Gabriel will join from Palmeiras for £27million, with another possible £5m in add-ons.
Gabriel has signed a five-year deal with City although he will be loaned back to Palmeiras for the rest of the 2016, allowing him to complete the Brazilian Serie A and cup campaigns.
He is currently in the Brazil squad for the Olympic Games, along with Neymar, Marquinhos and Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson. He is lined up to start in Brazil’s first game against South Africa in Brasilia on Thursday evening.
Barcelona had been favourites to sign Gabriel earlier this summer, having bid for him at the start of the summer. He has been compared to Barcelona star Neymar, due to his pace, skill and imagination playing on the wing, and he had been widely expected to follow his idol to the Camp Nou.
But City have beaten Barcelona and PSG, as well as Inter Milan and Real Madrid, by offering an attractive package to player and club. The added lure of working with Pep Guardiola from January 2017 onwards has sealed the deal for them.
Gabriel is from São Paulo and signed for Palmeiras three years ago. He was an important part of the side that won the Copa do Brasil last year, as well as playing for the Brazil side that lost the final of the Under-20 World Cup to Serbia in New Zealand. He won the Brazilian league’s award for best young player at the end of the season.
This year Gabriel has continued his development with Palmeiras and Brazil, featuring in the Copa Libertadores for the first time. He could not get a visa to be part of the Brazil squad for the Copa America Centenario in the USA, but will be representing his country this month instead.