Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may be about to waste millions after Lens thrashing

In pictures: Arsenal v Lens

Gabriel Jesus’ joyful performance against Lens casts doubt over whether Arsenal splashing ยฃ80million on Ivan Toney or more still on Victor Osimhen would be a worthwhile endeavour. The Brazilian dazzled as Mikel Arteta’s side ran out convincing 6-0 winners, although rumours suggest that he could soon be out of a spot in the starting XI.

“Goals are not my strongest suit, but I will score them,” said Jesus during the international break. The Brazilian’s remark was a backhanded way of saying that he brings a lot more to the table than an orthodox striker would.

That much was clear against Lens, who were outclassed and put to the sword at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal sealed their ticket to the Champions League knockout rounds in emphatic fashion.

Jesus provided a deft-headed assist for Kai Havertz to open the scoring, he showed tremendous technical skill to dupe Kevin Danso and slot home Arsenal’s second and continued tormenting the Ligue 1 outfit with unpredictable movement and quick feet.

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Jesus is a Champions League specialist, with 24 goals in 42 matches across his time at Manchester City and Arsenal. He is also a lethal weapon when deployed in a game as open as Lens were willing to make Wednesday’s contest, creating chances for himself as well as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, who drifted in from the wing to devastating effect.

That being said, there is no doubt that Arsenal suffer from a missing ingredient up top against teams who sit back. Brentford exposed that flaw on Saturday when the Gunners relied on Havertz’s 89th-minute header to scrape the three points.

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Arteta therefore can’t be blamed for putting a high-class, orthodox frontman on his transfer wish list. But splashing more than ยฃ100m on Osimhen may turn out to be an unwise move if Jesus is able to churn out performances like he did against Lens on a consistent basis.

The 26-year-old in that kind of form is good value for a start against every team who turn up and go toe-to-toe with the Gunners. A more physical forward would be useful against a ‘park the bus’ approach, but what use is spending nine figures on Osimhen or a mammoth fee on Toney if they’re only an option and not the main man?

Arteta may be better advised to save a chunk of the club’s cash and plump for a cheaper alternative, providing they’re similar in profile, if it means keeping Jesus happy and building a well-balanced crop of strikers content to make way for one another depending on the opposition.

Gunners fans are yet to see the best of the former Man City forward, who promised so much during his first pre-season before losing momentum in an injury-hit first campaign.

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