Arsenal have been dealt a major blow just days ahead of the new season kicking off as striker Gabriel Jesus will miss the first weeks of the season through injury.
The Brazilian missed several months of the 22-23 campaign with a knee injury picked up while on international duty with Brazil, but returned for the end of season run in as the Gunners ended up finishing second to Manchester City.
Signed just last summer from the Cityzens, he scored 11 times and grabbed 7 assists in his first season at the Emirates Stadium, and played a key role as they challenged for the title for much of the campaign.
However, he is set to miss the start of this season too, with Mikel Arteta revealing that he has had to go under the knife once more after picking up a knee injury in pre-season.
‘Unfortunately he had a little procedure this morning’, the Spaniard explained following the Emirates Cup win over Monaco. ‘He’s had some discomfort in his knee that caused him some issues so they had to go in. He’s going to be out for a few weeks.’
Eddie Nketiah is likely to lead the line, which he did to good effect in Jesus’ absence last season too, while the Gunners also have young talent Folarin Balogun on their books, though he had been expected to leave the club this summer after an impressive loan campaign with Stade des Reims.
That may change, however, should it emerge that Jesus has suffered a serious injury, while summer signing Kai Havertz could also play as a no.9 despite being signed ostensibly as a midfielder.
Arsenal kick off their new season on Sunday with a Community Shield clash against Manchester City at Wembley, before beginning their Premier League season the following weekend with a home game against Nottingham Forest.
They then face Crystal Palace, Fulham and Manchester United within the first month of the season.