Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Pep Guardiola defends Man City decision to sell Jesus, Zinchenko amid phenomenal Arsenal impact

Pep Guardiola Man City v Wolves

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to sell Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal last summer.

The former City duo moved to north London in two separate deals worth a combined £75m for Arsenal and both Zinchenko and Jesus have been a big success at the Emirates. Indeed, given the pair are now sitting above their former club at the top of the Premier League table, questions have been raised over the deals.

Arsenal currently sit five points clear of Manchester City, giving them a huge opportunity to clinch their first league title since 2004.

Jesus had a barnstorming start to the campaign, scoring five goals and making six assists in 14 league appearances, putting in phenomenal performances against the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool.

However, a knee injury he picked up at the World Cup has ruled him out for the next three months. Despite this, he will undoubtedly prove to be a huge signing for Arsenal.

Similarly, Zinchenko has played a huge role in bringing a winning mentality to the Arsenal dressing room.

Speaking to Premier League productions on Sunday, he said: “To be honest, when I had just arrived, the quality I saw… obviously I knew the Arsenal team, I knew all of them before, but still I realised on the pitch we have everything to achieve big things.”

“I started to speak in the dressing room, saying: ‘Guys, forget top three or whatever, we need to think about the title.’ Some of them were laughing but no one is laughing now.”

The Ukraine international has made 14 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners this season, despite missing 10 matches with a calf injury. Recently, he put in an excellent performance as Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-2 at the Emirates.

Guardiola ‘delighted’ Jesus and Zinchenko have succeeded, but still ‘wants to beat them’

Despite the fact that Zinchenko and Jesus have clearly turned Arteta’s team into a different force this season, Guardiola has maintained that it was the right decision to allow the pair to join Arsenal.

As per Sky Sports, when asked if it was a mistake to sell them, Guardiola said: “Why? Because they are winning?

“Alex and Gabriel had been amazing with us, they had amazing respect as people and also football players.

“I would like to beat them but all the success they had and with their families, it’s going well. I’m more than delighted. It happened because both players and clubs agreed with that.

“Many times Alex could have said ‘I want to leave’ but he stayed. Gabriel is the same.

“We agreed [to sell them] because they were here a lot of years and [they wanted] a new challenge and Arsenal wanted them.

“It happened in a natural way. It’s going well for them, congratulations.

“We have to beat them and be closer to them. Not just tomorrow, but in the next weeks and the season.”

As mentioned, Arsenal are currently five points clear of second-placed City, even having played one game less than their rivals.

Guardiola may not yet regret his decision to sell Zinchenko and Jesus, but if the Gunners end up scuppering his chance at a fifth Premier League title, he may change his tune.

READ MORE: Arsenal tipped to bid £30m for Brazilian wonderkid despite ‘not for sale’ stance sidelining Man City, Newcastle