Gabriel Jesus has undergone surgery to his right knee after suffering an injury during Brazil’s World Cup group stage match against Cameroon on Friday.
The striker came off for Brazil during the 1-0 defeat in the 64th minute and it was announced that he will miss the rest of the World Cup with a knee problem.
Arsenal confirmed the 25-year-old has already had an operation and is starting his recovery. Reports have suggested Jesus could be out for up to three months but it is understood the club are not putting a timescale on his return as yet.
An Arsenal statement read: “Gabby will now begin his rehabilitation programme. Everyone at the club is supporting Gabby and will be working hard to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
The news is a problem for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who restart their Premier League campaign on Boxing Day when they host West Ham.
The Gunners have Eddie Nketiah as striker back-up while Gabriel Martinelli can also play in a centre-forward role if required.
Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League table- – five points ahead of their nearest challengers Manchester City – and Jesus started every single game for Arteta’s Gunners from the beginning of the season to the World Cup break.
Arsenal have not put a timescale on when Gabriel Jesus will return. We’ve put the question to Arsenal – when will he be back? The answer is: “No timescale.” There have been reports the injury was quite serious and they were indicating it could be as long as three months. That hasn’t been confirmed and Arsenal aren’t commenting.
Analysis: Can Arsenal afford to lose Jesus to injury?
The impact of Jesus at Arsenal following his £45m move from Manchester City has been clear to see both on and off the pitch.
Many in the Arsenal squad have spoken about how the Brazilian striker and Oleksandr Zinchenko have brought a “winning mentality” from City over the summer – while Jesus, as a centre forward, has been the Gunners’ player for the big moment with five goals and six assists in his opening 14 games.
But with Jesus set for a spell on the sidelines it now falls on Eddie Nketiah to take up the mantle up front. With five goals in seven league games at the end of last season, Nketiah showed that he can start regularly for the Gunners – but he struggled to challenge Jesus for a starting spot before the Brazilian’s injury.
Nketiah has managed three goals in seven non-Premier League games so he hasn’t lost his sharpness, but he is yet to find the net in 12 Premier League games from the bench.
While an impressive Saturday Night Football cameo against Fulham in August – where he played alongside Jesus in a front two – demonstrated the English striker’s ability to impact games, the No 9 position was an area where Arsenal cannot afford to lose their top talent.
Will Arsenal be forced into the transfer market?
Analysis from Sky Sports’ Oliver Yew:
“There’s already been plenty of talk about Arsenal’s eagerness to strengthen in the January transfer window.
“A right-sided winger and another central midfield option are high up Mikel Arteta’s wanted list as the Gunners look to bolster their squad with alternative options for the likes of Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey.
“Is there money to spend? Well reports suggest there’s a budget of £50m for the league leaders to spend as they look to stay in the race for the title in the new year.
“However, Jesus’ injury complicates matter for the club’s first ever sporting director, Edu.
“Will the Gunners now alter their plan and target a replacement for the Brazilian forward at the cost of getting the squad cover they so desperately need? Or will Edu and Arteta put their trust firmly in Nketiah to lead the line in the absence of Jesus?
“Arsenal reportedly also have an option to recall Folarin Balogun from his loan deal with Reims. The 21-year-old has already scored eight goals in Ligue 1 so far this season and should Arsenal want to push on with their plan to strengthen with a winger and a central midfielder, Balogun could be an easy option to provide cover and competition for Nketiah.”
“It’s a conundrum that Edu would have been desperate to avoid, but how he solves could go a long way to deciding Arsenal’s fate this season.”
Arsenal fixtures in December and January
December 26 – West Ham (H), Premier League – kick-off 8pm
December 31 – Brighton (A), Premier League – kick-off 5.30pm – live on Sky Sports
January 3 – Newcastle (H), Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm – live on Sky Sports
January 9 – Oxford United (A), FA Cup third round, kick-off 8pm
January 15 – Tottenham (A), Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports
January 22 – Manchester United (H), Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports
January 28/29 – Potential FA Cup fourth-round tie
Telles also ruled out of Brazil’s World Cup campaign
Left-back Alex Telles, who also limped off injured in Brazil’s final Group G match against Cameroon with a right knee problem, has also been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup
A statement from the Brazilian FA read: “As announced by the Brazilian FA after the game against Cameroon, players Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus underwent tests on Saturday morning. Accompanied by the Brazilian National Team doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, they underwent an MRI on the right knee that confirmed the injuries and the impossibility of recovery in time to participate in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
“The coordinator of the Brazilian National Team, Juninho Paulista, is in contact with the sports directors of Arsenal and Sevilla to define whether Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus remain with the squad in Doha to continue the treatment or return to their clubs.”
Brazil are already sweating over the fitness of Neymar, who has missed their last two matches with an ankle problem.
Brazil’s potential route to the World Cup final
Friday December 9
Croatia vs Brazil – Kick-off 3pm
Tuesday December 13
Netherlands or Argentina vs Croatia or Brazil – Kick-off 7pm