The Brazilian has been linked with a move to the Premier League club in recent months.
Jesus is Benfica manager, and is also trying to sign Soares.
"It is true that I called the player," Jesus reportedly told Record.
"He is one of the important targets for Benfica, not only because of his quality – he is a starter for Brazil too.
"There was also interest from Everton and a German team.
"I looked to convince him to come to Benfica, which is a great club, with a national and European project with other great players to attack all competition. I tried to convince him to come work with me."