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Two Brazilian internationals. Two 25-year-olds. Two centre forwards who enjoy operating in wide areas.
Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison are set to go head-to-head next season after their blockbuster moves to north London, with Arsenal and Spurs each confident that they have snatched the better deal.
Tottenham announced the £60million signing of Richarlison on Friday, less than a week after Jesus arrived at the Emirates for £45m.
Arsenal have completed the £45m signing of striker Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City
Richarlison will team up with Antonio Conte at Tottenham following his £60m move on Friday
Whilst both forwards hold several similarities on the surface, the new north Londoners have experienced polar-opposite journeys since joining the Premier League.
Jesus has played an extra six months of Premier League football than Richarlison, following his arrival at Manchester City for £27m in January 2017.
He has since racked up a sizeable trophy cabinet with the reigning Premier League champions, winning four league titles, four League Cups and an FA Cup.
Richarlison, by contrast, joined relegation-candidates Watford in the summer of 2018, before signing with Everton for £44m a year later.
While Jesus has – for large spells – played second fiddle in attack for Pep Guardiola and watched on from the Manchester City bench, Richarlison has grown increasingly valuable at Everton.
The ex-Man City No 9 began his career at the Etihad in the shadow of club legend Sergio Aguero and has since struggled to nail down a regular spot in the first-team following the Argentinian’s exit.
Manager Antonio Conte fired Tottenham into fourth spot to qualify for the Champions League
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s new recruit matured into one of Everton’s most valuable assets, his six goals in nine games at the end of last season practically saving them from certain Premier League relegation.
Ex-Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere jabbed at Tottenham on Friday as the club prepared to unveil Richarlison’s arrival, claiming that the new Spurs forward would not make Arteta’s starting line-up if he joined Arsenal.
Sportsmail has crunched the numbers and assessed which Brazilian is most likely to prevail in north London next season based on three separate categories.
Form last season
Despite adding another Premier League crown to his rich portfolio, Jesus only started 21 matches for Man City last season, compared to Richarlison’s 28 at Everton.
However, in terms of goals per game, there is very little to separate the two forwards.
Scoring eight league goals last season, the former City star averaged 0.38 goals per 90 minutes, marginally superior to the 0.36 posted by Richarlison, who netted 10 with the Toffees.
However, the ex-Everton striker needed fewer shots every match to convert his chances, averaging 2.57 per 90 compared to Jesus’ 3.07.
Richarlison scored 10 goals for Everton last season to help his former club avoid the drop
Guardiola’s high-pressing, possession-based style allowed Jesus to let fire on goal more frequently, as the majority of his time with the ball was spent deep inside the opposition’s half.
Arsenal fans were excited to see Jesus sporting his new Gunners’ No 9 jersey
Although Jesus has been lured to the Emirates to play as the central striker, Arteta’s system will expect him to operate as a creative forward, which bore fruit for his predecessor Alexandre Lacazette last campaign.
The Frenchman, who reunited with Lyon on a free transfer this summer, was tasked with offloading the ball to Arteta’s three attacking midfielders behind him.
His creativity and awareness helped Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith-Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli net 34 goals between them, well over half of Arsenal’s total tally for the season.
Similarly, as Antonio Conte already boasts Harry Kane in centre-forward, Richarlison has not been brought to Tottenham to play down the middle.
Unless the Italian head coach disrupts his formation in a bid to wedge the Brazilian in, Richarlison’s best hope of a starting spot will likely come at right-wing, opposite Son Heung-Min on the left flank.
Kane (17) and golden boot winner Son (23) scored 40 goals combined last campaign, thus the need for a goal boost in attack is slightly less vital than at the Emirates.
Although expected to operate in different roles, Richarlison and Jesus will both be tasked with providing chances and assists as well as goals.
The ex-Man City star created nine more chances and three more assists than Richarlison, almost doubling his fellow countryman in each category across a 90 minute average.
Deployed mostly on the right wing to appease Guardiola’s false-nine system, Jesus profited creatively, achieving his best ever Premier League assist tally at the club (8).
Richarlison (right) was more prolific than Jesus last campaign but provided far fewer assists
Richarlison also managed his joint-best tally last campaign, his five assists at Everton matching the total he accumulated with Watford during the 2017-18 season.
An interesting metric to analyse is Richarlison’s success at drawing fouls, which is far superior to Jesus.
In his 30 appearances, the ex-Everton ace won 68 fouls – compared to Jesus’ total of 26 from 28 matches.
Drawing an average of more than two fouls a game could profit Conte immensely next season and – in many ways – indirectly provide creative opportunities through free-kicks.
Spurs are reportedly on the verge of adding set-piece expert Gianni Vio to the backroom staff, who designed 4,830 unique dead-ball situations for Italy at Euro 2020.
He is set to link up with Harry Kane (L) and Son Heung-min (R) to add to their impressive attack
The north London club ranked in the bottom-half for set-piece goals scored last season (9), and Richarlison’s knack of winning free-kicks – combined with the addition of Vio – could help Conte drastically improve in this area.
In the short-term, Tottenham’s new signing has been scintillating in almost all areas, virtually single-handedly keeping Everton afloat with his end-of-season performances.
A knee injury blighted Richarlison during the early stages of 2021-22, and he initially returned without his usual swagger and flair with Everton entrenched in a relegation scrap.
However, after committing his immediate future at Goodison Park in January, Richarlison contributed eight goal contributions in 10 matches towards the back end of last season.
It’s a close call, but the Spurs newcomer just about had the edge in terms of form last season.
Long-term success and temperament
Since arriving in 2017, Jesus has bagged 95 goals and 46 assists in 234 appearances at Man City.
With 58 goals and 19 assists during his 192 matches for Everton and Watford combined, Richarlison’s total falls short of the new Gunner in every department.
Few would expect him to compete with Jesus, aware that the ex-Man City striker has played with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Yaya Toure and a glut of other star-studded playmakers.
Assess the pair within the same team – Brazil – and the differences are far less clear-cut.
Jesus scored a goal in both the semi-final and final during Brazil’s 2019 Copa America triumph
On international duty, Richarlison has notched 14 goals and six assists in 36 matches, whilst Jesus has managed 19 goals and 13 assists from his 55 appearances.
Once again, Jesus dominates in terms of creativity, but the statistics highlight that the new Spurs forward has a better goals per game ratio when playing for his country.
Crunch the numbers further, and Richarlison seems to score more goals during important games for Brazil.
Over half of Jesus’ international goals have come in friendly matches, scoring only seven from 21 in major tournament qualifiers, two from 10 in the Copa America and zero from five at the World Cup.
Richarlison, whilst also bagging just two goals from 10 appearances at the Copa America, impressively stormed the World Cup qualifiers with six goals in eight matches.
However, in fear of scrutinising the numbers too finely, it’s important to note that Jesus was vital during Brazil’s 2019 Copa America triumph.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta build a solid relationship with Jesus during his time at Man City
The striker scored the first goal and assisted the second during Brazil’s semi-final win against rivals Argentina and later put his side ahead against Peru in the final with a crucial goal before half-time.
Ironically, after Jesus was sent-off midway through the second half, Richarlison came on to score a 90th minute penalty and seal a famous 3-1 victory for Brazil.
Despite his dismissal in the 2019 final, the Arsenal newcomer was never shown red during his time at the Etihad.
Richarlison certainly developed more of a fiery reputation amongst Everton fans, having endured two Premier League red cards since his arrival at Goodison.
In the top flight alone, the fresh Spurs recruit has accumulated twice as many yellow cards as Jesus at Watford and Everton.
During last season, Richarlison was brandished yellow nine times – more than any other Toffees player – two bookings behind the Premier League yellow card table-toppers Junior Firpo, James Tarkowski and Tyrone Mings.
Moreover, Liverpool legend and pundit Jamie Carragher regularly hit out at Richarlison throughout last season, claiming that he was feigning injury and practising gamesmanship.
The forward eventually took to Twitter to defend himself against Carragher’s comments, after the ex-defender said: ‘Every Everton game I do [commentate], he goes down three or four times like he’s got a big injury then just gets up!’
Forward Richarlison built up a fiery reputation at Goodison Park which divided opinion
Despite his end-of-season goal flurry, several Everton fans also began to grow tired of the Brazilian’s temperament and alleged bad attitude.
The Goodison Park faithful had grown accustomed to watching half-hearted rushes of effort and energy, outbursts of ill-feeling when substituted and reports of him attempting to exit the club.
Therefore, due to Jesus’ superior goal and assists tally at Manchester City, and his seemingly nice-guy attitude displayed under Guardiola, the new Gunners forward looks the more reliable long-term.
Fitting the system
As the fluid and skilful modern-day striker continues to usurp the conventional target man of bygone years, Arteta has tended to steer clear of a stereotypical No 9.
During his first season at the Emirates, the Gunners chief was adamant the team would benefit more from deploying star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left flank rather than at centre-forward.
Whilst perhaps slightly more traditional in style, Arteta’s methodology mirrors that of his former leader Guardiola, who has successfully led Man City to numerous trophies without a recognised striker leading the line.
Pep Guardiola has developed Jesus into a very versatile striker capable of playing on the wing
The jury is still out on whether it’s a system to be desired, but the Arsenal boss has indisputably managed to get the best out of Saka, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe and Martinelli by shifting the role of his striker.
Lacazette, in theory, was asked to play with his back to goal and feed the midfield behind him, before dropping the shoulder and running in support of the advancing cavalry.
His relationship with Odegaard, who took the captain’s armband midway through April, was particularly fruitful.
Jesus, whilst hopefully scoring more goals than the ex-France international, has become an expert in intricate passing and creative movement under Guardiola, and should therefore profit from a reunion with Arteta at the Emirates.
Alexandre Lacazette played an important creative role in attack for Arsenal last campaign
Meanwhile for Conte, who has already lured Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma and Fraser Forster to north London this summer, the picture is slightly less clear as to how Richarlison might fit in.
There is no doubt that the 25-year-old will add extra firepower to a relatively thin Spurs squad, but fans will expect the Brazilian to play more than just a impact role, especially considering his lofty £60m price tag.
Tottenham have struggled to find a reliable deputy for Kane in recent seasons, with few talented strikers keen to join Spurs just to play second fiddle.
Bringing in Richarlison, a forward who can also operate competently in wide areas, provides Conte with a ready-made replacement should Kane suffer injury or suspension, but one that can still play a meaningful role elsewhere on the pitch.
With Kane and Son understandably the first two names on the team sheet, Richarlison has little to no chance at centre-forward or left-wing.
His best shot at a first-team spot will come on the opposite flank, although January arrival Dejan Kulusevski enjoyed a superb end to the 2021-22 campaign.
Spurs’ January arrival Dejan Kulusevski scored five and assisted eight for Spurs in 18 matches
The Swede contributed five goals and eight assists in 18 appearances from right wing as Spurs leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth to clinch Champions League qualification.
Should Conte opt to deploy the same 5-2-3 system next campaign, Kulusevski and Richarlison may be in direct competition for the final place in Tottenham’s front three.
However, with Bissouma bringing added protection to Spurs’ back line, the manager could alter his tactics and work towards a 4-2-3-1, placing the Malian alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in a double pivot.
Shoehorning an extra attacker on the pitch, Conte could then play an attacking three of Richarlison, Son and Kulusevski behind star man Kane in a bid to overwhelm defences.
However, as Conte tends to enjoy a structured and well-protected system, it seems unlikely the Italian will drastically change his formation ahead of next season, which could land £60m Richarlison on the bench more often than not.