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Jesus rejects City future talk amid Haaland speculation

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Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus wants to solely focus on this season amid ongoing speculation surrounding his future and the possible arrival of Erling Haaland.

Jesus’ contract does not expire until June 2023, but there are suggestions he could make way for the in-demand Haaland to sign from Borussia Dortmund.

Pep Guardiola’s reigning Premier League champions have repeatedly been linked with Norway striker Haaland, with a €75million release clause reportedly coming into play at the end of the season.

While talk persists around the future of Jesus, who is said to be a target of Arsenal, the 25-year-old delivered on the pitch against Watford, finding the net four times and assisting the other in a 5-1 rout on Saturday.

That made him the fifth Brazilian hat-trick scorer in the Premier League, after Afonso Alves, Robinho, Roberto Firmino and Lucas Moura, but the first of those to score four times in a single match.

Jesus was also just the second City player to be directly involved in five goals in a single Premier League game, after Sergio Aguero netted five against Newcastle United in October 2015.

However, the former Palmeiras attacker refused to commit his future to City amid questions of whether he will stay and fight for his place should Haaland be brought in.

“It’s not time to think about this,” he told reporters. “You expect me to say this, but it’s true.

“This is no time to think about this. Now is the best moment of the season. I want to enjoy, to keep focused on my team, with my team-mates, to fight for the Premier League. I won it with my team-mates three times.

“And I know how that feels, and I want to have that feeling again. And then of course we also have the tough game on Tuesday against Real Madrid [in the Champions League] and that is my focus.”

City’s wealth of attacking riches has them in contention for the Premier League, leading Liverpool by a point with five games to play, and the Champions League, where they face Madrid in the semi-finals.

But that plethora of creative and goalscoring talent is often what has kept Jesus on the sidelines, with Guardiola preferring to utilise the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne as forwards after missing out on Harry Kane before the 2021-22 season.

Indeed, out of City’s attacking group – which also includes Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez – only the Algeria international has played fewer minutes (1,332) in the Premier League than Jesus this season (1,545).

“It’s not just me, it’s [all] the players. If you ask, everyone’s going to say ‘I want to play’ and the season that I arrived here I played a lot, I think,” Jesus responded when asked if he would like more regular chances.

“I know what I expect of course, but I know we have very good players who can play every game as well.

“Sometimes it’s not just me, it’s Riyad, sometimes Raz [Sterling], and Grealish arrives this season and sees how it is here. We have a lot of good strikers, wingers and forwards.”

After becoming the third player to score four goals in a Premier League match for City – after Edin Dzeko and Aguero, who did so on three occasions – Jesus will hope to get the opportunity to deliver again at home to Madrid on Tuesday.

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