Mikel Arteta confirms that ‘phenomenal’ Gabriel Jesus is ‘not far’ from a return to the first-team… but the Brazilian will ‘need to earn his place’ after facing three months out with a knee injury
- Arsenal go into Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth five points clear at the top
- The Gunners opened up a five-point gap on Man City with a 4-0 win over Everton
Mikel Arteta has confirmed that long-term absentee Gabriel Jesus is ‘not far’ from a return to first-team action.
The Brazilian striker has been out for three months after picking up a knee injury in a group stage match against Cameroon during the World Cup. He had surgery on his right knee in December.
Arteta has continually been reluctant to give an exact timeline on the striker’s return but he said that it will be a lot clearer in the next week to 10 days.
Jesus, who had been an integral part of Arsenal’s early form, was pictured on the grass for the first time since his injury on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Bournemouth on Saturday, Arteta said: ‘He’s not far now.
‘I don’t want to give a timeline but he’s doing certain things with the team and certain things outside the team. He’s not very close but he’s not very far. The doctors are feeling confident with how he’s evolving.
‘It’s been pretty straightforward. At the beginning we were pretty concerned and thankfully it wasn’t that bad. Gabi has been through that before, his mentality is incredible and the team has done a really good job with him.’
When quizzed on whether Jesus gets straight back in the team, he added: ‘Probably that wouldn’t be fair on him because when he was in the team he was phenomenal. But when he’s back like everybody else he’ll need to earn his place in the team.’
More to follow.
Mikel Arteta has confirmed that long-term absentee Gabriel Jesus is ‘not far’ from a return to first-team action
Gabriel Jesus was pictured returning to training earlier this week but is still not ready to return
Arsenal increased their gap on Manchester City to five points with a 4-0 win against Everton on Wednesday