Gabriel Jesus has confirmed his “secret agent” role in convincing “his brother” Oleksandr Zinchenko to join Arsenal.
Both players left Manchester City to join the Gunners last summer but Jesus was first to make the move before Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu went to Zinchenko’s house to discuss a transfer.
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Speaking about his role in the deal for the first time, Jesus said on Tuesday: “I was in Manchester, at home with my family and I was supposed to come to London the day after and come in by car.
“Edu just text me and said they were going to Zinny’s house, if I want to come to join them to talk with Zin and then I come by plane. So I say ‘OK.’ I went there and talked with him. He was surprised.
“If I helped a little bit he took the decision to come, I am happy because I like him as a player, as a person. I treat him as a brother and I am very happy he came. He is playing good, playing every time and more than this is very happy so I’m happy for him.
“I just said ‘Zina, you have to take a decision like I did and I am happy with this.’ He was a little bit ‘I don’t know, I need to talk with my wife first’ but he took the decision [to come]. I think if you ask him, it was the right decision.”
Pushed on how Zinchenko has described him as a “secret agent,” Jesus replied: “Yeah, he can give me some percent [of the money]!”
Jesus was speaking ahead of Arsenal’s first Champions League appearance in six years as they prepare to face PSV Eindhoven at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old has regular experience of the competition from his time at City but revealed his excitement at being involved dated back to his childhood.
“I remember the times I watch at home, the times I missed school to watch and my mum got crazy,” he said.
“It starts from there, you know. It was different to hear the music, to see the best clubs. Probably because of that. All the leagues, the best clubs go. I think this helps a lot, then it is a different game, a different competition. The clubs who win the league qualify for the Champions League they have more quality and that’s what makes this special.
“I would just go to school and then in half-time — in Brazil it works like this, we do three hours and then we stop to eat — In this break, I went home to watch the game. When my mum got home, I was late, I was supposed to be at home already but now of course she knows.
“Kids: don’t do it, that’s no good. But in that time, I enjoy it a lot watching the Champions League.”
Jesus also insisted he had put his knee problems behind him after undergoing surgery twice in nine months, the first taking place in December after sustaining an injury while playing for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar.
That operation sidelined him for three months and he then had a second minor procedure in August after feeling discomfort in the same knee but returned three weeks later as Arsenal drew with Fulham.
“My knee is better now,” he said. “It was unlucky. I had to do it [surgery]. Now I am getting better, now my knee is perfect. Now there is more rhythm. I am going to work on that.”
Arteta confirmed Gabriel Martinelli will miss the game against PSV with a hamstring problem and remains a doubt for Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham.