It's Time for Gabriel Jesus to Step Out of Sergio Aguero's Manchester City Shadow

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-NEWCASTLE
Gabriel Jesus has scored 12 Premier League goals this season | LEE SMITH/Getty Images

Ever since his arrival at Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus has been heralded as the man to take over the goalscoring baton from club legend Sergio Aguero - not least because of his name.

However, three years down the line everyone's still a little unsure of what to make of the Brazilian. With Aguero still the top dog, Jesus remains something of an enigma.

As Manchester City prepare to face Bournemouth on Wednesday evening, the continued absence of the Argentine will again offer the chance for his understudy to take centre stage.

View this post on Instagram

Cruise control ? #mancity

A post shared by Manchester City (@mancity) on

The relegation strugglers may not represent the most stern test for Guardiola's side, but they will offer Jesus the chance to fill his boots and add to his already impressive stats - 20 goals in all competitions this season.

Yet, while everyone knows he can score, the time has come to truly rubber stamp his credentials as Guardiola's leading man in the coming seasons. With Aguero's spell at the club surely nearing its end, this climax to the season offers Jesus a chance for regular game time without the threat of being dropped.

So far since the restart, however, the Brazilian has scored just twice, with his two goals coming against Newcastle United and Brighton. To make matters worse, even without the presence of Aguero, Jesus has at times been dropped to the bench, with Guardiola opting to go without a recognised striker in the defeat to Chelsea back in June.

What is most infuriating about him is that he does have everything needed to succeed. He's good with both feet, talented with his head and is no stranger to an assist, yet its that lack of consistency that has plagued him thus far. Much like say Anthony Martial in the past, Jesus undoubtedly has the quality to be a real force in the Premier League - but his talent has only been seen in fits and starts.

That's not to say he hasn't produced when it matters. His display against Real Madrid in the Champions League back in February showed he is capable of doing the business on the biggest stage, with his headed goal an example of a proper poacher at work.

Perhaps it shows he simply just deserves more starts and more faith from his manager. Perhaps in a side filled with superstars, he simply just flies under the radar. Whatever the case, too often in the last 12 months he's been ineffective at crucial times for his team.

With an FA Cup clash with Arsenal to come, followed by seemingly straightforward meetings with Watford and Norwich in the Premier League, there is ample opportunity for Jesus to end the season with a bang and put a marker down for next season.

Pep Guardiola, Gabriel Jesus
Pep Guardiola will be seeking more consistency from his young striker | Pool/Getty Images

If he does not take this opportunity, the Sheikh Mansour cheque book may be used to look for an alternative, particularly with the income of Leroy Sane's move to Bayern Munich waiting to be reinvested.

At 23, he is now approaching a time in his career where regular football is a must. But can Pep Guardiola offer him that? In the long-term, no.

But at present, Jesus has four games left to truly prove himself, or risk becoming one of many high profile strikers to have been forced out by the power of Sergio Aguero.

Manchester City face Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium next, you can find 90min's preview of that game here.