Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that Gabriel Jesus’ knee injury is worse than expected.
Jesus sustained a long-term knee injury whilst on international duty with Brazil at last year’s World Cup.
The former Manchester City striker had reportedly complained several times about a niggling knee issue this term before getting injured in Qatar.
Jesus had been one of Arsenal’s best players this season and many supporters were panicking when they realised he would miss a large chunk of the season.
However, Eddie Nketiah has filled in very well, scoring in two of his three Premier League starts since the resumption of the season. He also bagged a brace in Monday’s FA Cup win at Oxford United.
There were initial hopes that Jesus would return in February, however, Arteta has said his comeback will take “a bit longer than we expected”.
“Hopefully we will have him back (for the final few months),” Arteta told Sky Sports. “Obviously it was a serious injury, a bit longer than we expected it.
“He is going to try to do everything he can to make it shorter but we’re going to miss him for a while.”
Arteta continued: “The good news is that another academy player like Eddie, who has been very patient and has been working hard and has been evolving in the way that we wanted, now he has the opportunity to show what he can do and he certainly is.”
Arsenal have been linked with several forwards with Jesus out injured.
They were expected to sign a new attacking player this month regardless of the Brazilian’s fitness with Arteta and technical director Edu making Mykhaylo Mudryk their number-one target.
After submitting three bids to Shakhtar Donetsk for the winger, Chelsea swooped in and made a sufficient offer that was accepted.
Mudryk was at Stamford Bridge on Sunday ahead of the Blues’ Premier League match against Crystal Palace with an announcement expected soon.
Many players are now being linked with the Gunners after they missed out on Mudryk – who has been purchased for around €100m, including add-ons.
Miguel Delaney has claimed that Arteta wants to make at least two signings this month and have been ‘offered’ Brighton winger Leandro Trossard, who has fallen out with Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi and was not in the squad for Saturday’s 3-0 win against Liverpool.
Another player being linked with a move to the Emirates is former target Raphinha.
Jesus’ Brazil teammate joined Barcelona last summer after Chelsea and Arsenal had submitted bids for the then-Leeds United star.
However, Spanish outlet Sport claim Barcelona want €100m to sell Raphinha. Ouch.
READ MORE: Every Premier League club’s highest-rated player of the season so far