Guardiola sees traits of Messi in Jesus
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed his delight at warding off interest from the "big clubs" to sign Gabriel Jesus, and claimed that there are parallels between the youngster's sudden impact in the Premier League and Lionel Messi's breakthrough at Barcelona.
City beat Barcelona to the signing of the 20-year-old Brazilian forward, who joined from Palmeiras for an initial £27m.
Jesus remained on loan at the club until December, before he joined up with his new team-mates and made a sudden impact in England's top flight.
The forward - long regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Brazil - scored on his full Premier League derby and has gone on to score four times in six league appearances, proving an instant hit with the City fan-base.
And even Guardiola has admitted to being surprised with how quickly the youngster has adapted to the quicker, more physical English game.
"Before we got him, we expected a lot of things, but not that impact as soon as possible," Guardiola said ahead of City's league match against Crystal Palace.
"He will be the future striker in this club for the next years."
When asked whether he had managed any other young players who went on to make such a sudden impression, Guardiola brought up Messi, who first made his breakthrough at Barcelona aged just 18.
"There have not been many - especially the good ones who make a good impact," Guardiola replied when asked about young players of a similar pedigree to Jesus.
"Not many at all. Lionel Messi, for example, we took at 18, 19 years old and he scored 40 league goals in a year. The top players are top players.
"Sometimes we talk about needing more time, but when you are good, you maybe don't need time.
"Some players come here in the Premier League and the first season and the second season are difficult and then - wow!
"Of course, when you buy a player you never know, his relationship with his team-mates, there are many, many things. That is the secret."
Guardiola also spoke of his delight that Jesus had decided to pick City even though a number of Europe's top sides were chasing him.
"When we decided to buy Gabriel, Gabriel had a lot, a lot of friends to go, a lot of teams. But he decided to come here, which was so happy for us. I'm very pleased about that," Guardiola said.
"Always we believe, you have to make the players want to choose you as a club. You want them to show they want to come and join you. That is also so, so important and Gabriel took that step with us.
"If he had waited one more year in Brazil, then maybe there would have been the big clubs who have played a lot of years in the Champions League with a long history, but he decided he wanted to come here. I love that. He decided to come here and that's why I want to have him."
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CITY banned from signing youth players
Manchester City have been banned by the Premier League from signing youth players for two years and fined £300,000 for 'tapping up' two teenage players in breach of league rules.
City were found to have approached two young players while they were registered with other clubs. City accepted the charges and accepted the sanction.
The ban prevents City from signing players aged between U-10 to U-18 levels who have been registered with Premier League or Football League clubs over the previous 18 months. It does not affect City's ability to sign players aged between 16 and 18 from Europe.
In practice, City will be banned from UK academy signings for only one year. From June 30, 2018, the ban will be suspended for three years.
These punishments are the culmination of months of investigation by the Premier League.
All transfers between two Category 1 academies go through the Premier League's five-step process to see if they were done in accordance with the rules. This involved the Premier League's lawyers looking at bank and phone records to see if City made an illegal approach to a boy contracted at another club.
While the Premier League were investigating City's signing of Liverpool goalkeeper Louie Moulden, which was eventually approved, the processes of two other signings were found to breach league rules.
One of those signings was an 11-year-old from Everton, whose temporary registration with City has now been voided. City have agreed to pay his compensation meaning that he is now a free agent, and to continue to pay his school fees.
The other signing was a 15-year-old from Wolves. He will be allowed to stay at City for next season before taking his GCSEs in June 2018, at which point he will leave the club as a free agent.
Independent News Service