Manchester United’s most recent league meeting prior to the brief halt to proceedings saw Erik ten Hag’s side clinch a 3-1 victory over Premier League rivals Arsenal, ensuring a fourth successive victory in the competition for the Red Devils.
Although the margin of the scoreline suggests a comfortable outing for the hosts at Old Trafford, the reality is that the Gunners were somewhat unfortunate not to have walked away with all three points themselves, having produced a largely strong display on the day.
A key figure in the impressive performance for the visitors was summer signing Gabriel Jesus, with the Brazil international proving a real handful for the defensive pairing of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.
The dynamic marksman at one stage notably eased the latter man out of the way before teeing up teammate Martin Odegaard, with such a moment of quality epitomising a performance that was lauded by United legend Gary Neville, who dubbed the £265k-per-week forward the “outstanding player on the pitch”.
That display marked what has been a fine start to life under Mikel Arteta for the 25-year-old, with three goals and three assists to his name in just six league games since his arrival from Manchester City earlier in the summer.
Having had just a year remaining on his existing deal at the Etihad, the explosive “menace” – as described by one source – was snapped up for ‘just’ £45m by the Gunners, with that representing a potential bargain for a player who already has four league titles under his belt.
That being said, however, those at the Theatre of Dreams seemingly had a chance to land the one-time Palmeiras man for just a fraction of that fee, with Class of ’92 star Ryan Giggs previously revealing that he had pushed for the club to sign both Jesus – and French superstar Kylian Mbappe – before they exploded into a wider focus.
The Welshman – who was part of Louis van Gaal’s coaching set-up following his retirement in 2014 – previously stated: ‘I watched Gabriel Jesus play three years ago. I watched Mbappe for a year. I was watching them with the scout and it was a no-brainer. It was just like, ‘Get them’.
‘It would have been £5m or something — get them, loan them back — and that’s where the recruitment could have been better.’
One of many seemingly missed opportunities for those at United, that failure to make a move for the 56-cap genius has no doubt backfired, as he went on to score 95 goals and provide 46 assists in 236 games during his time at City, having joined the club on a £27m deal in 2016.
Such an asset would no doubt have helped solve the Red Devils’ current striking woes, with new boss Erik ten Hag having to rely on an ageing Cristiano Ronaldo and an injury-plagued Anthony Martial through the middle.
Although with the club’s chequered recruitment history it is hard to know if Jesus would have been a success, it would certainly have been a gamble worth taking at just £5m for such an undoubted talent.