Fernandinho has revealed that he helped convince Gabriel Jesus to snub Spanish heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid to join Manchester City.
The 19-year-old Brazilian has made a very early impact since joining up with his new club in January, scoring three goals and providing one assist in four appearances.
City secured the young forward’s signature for around £27m last summer, but he remained with Palmeiras until the winter window opened.
Jesus has impressed manager Pep Guardiola so much that the teenager has forced Sergio Aguero onto the bench for the past two games.
It could have been a very different story, though, had Fernandinho not played a hand in persuading the youngster to resist the lure of Barca and Madrid.
The midfielder told The Sun:
“I just asked him to choose City – to come here. I talked to him and was honest with him. A lot of big teams wanted to sign him, especially Barcelona and Real Madrid. I just told him, ‘Look, you can take the team sheets of Barcelona and Madrid and see what player of 19 years old plays there in the starting 11’. But you have Pep here at City and he loves to have young players in the team – to give this opportunity for young players.”
Jesus’s arrival has coincided with an upturn in form for City, who are back in the top four of the Premier League following back-to-back wins over West Ham United and Swansea City.
The North-West outfit currently reside third in the standings, but they are 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, so a title challenge looks unlikely.
They are still in the hunt for silverware, though, as they remain in the EFL Cup and Champions League, which resumes next week for the last-16 stage.