- Midfielder Granit Xhaka backs Eddie Nketiah to lead Arsenal's attack in place of Gabriel Jesus
- Gabriel Jesus withdrew from the Brazil squad due to a knee injury and will be out for months
- Xhaka says Nketiah has shown he has what it takes to be deputy in place of the Brazilian
Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus withdrew from the Brazil World Cup squad after suffering a knee injury, which he has since undergone surgery for.
Jesus, who joined the Gunners from Manchester City in the summer, has been the first-choice striker for Mikel Arteta ahead of Eddie Nketiah.
Arsenal are likely to be in the market in January for a replacement, but Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka believes Nketiah can fill in for Jesus and help the team get the best out of him.
Arsenal's statement on Gabriel Jesus
The club confirmed in an official statement that Jesus had successful surgery on the right knee injury he picked up while playing for Brazil at the Mundial:
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"Gabriel Jesus has successfully undergone surgery to his right knee after suffering an injury during the Brazil v Cameroon World Cup group stage match on Friday. Gabby will now begin his rehabilitation programme…"
No specific timeline is set for his return, but it is widely circulated in the English media that he will be out for two to three months.
Xhaka backs Nketiah to shine
Xhaka has called Jesus' injury a shame because he is an important player, but told the Evening Standard he expected Nketiah to step up in his place.
“We have to cope. We have no different option. We have the option with Eddie, of course. He showed great games as well in the past. We need to support Eddie; he will be a big, big part of the next two or three months. But I am looking forward to it because we have the quality to bring Eddie there and to help him.”
Xhaka's Switzerland were knocked out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, after falling to an embarrassing 6-1 loss to Portugal in the round of 16.
Arsenal lose mid-season friendly
Clubs across European leagues are engaging in camping tours around the world and friendlies for players not participating at the World Cup.
As reported earlier by Sports Brief, Arsenal were beaten 4-2 by Championship club Watford, before flying out for their camping in Dubai.
Mikel Arteta's men are top of the Premier League as of the World Cup break, five points clear of defending champions Manchester City.