GABRIEL JESUS was snapped arriving at Arsenal’s training centre on crunches as Mikel Arteta conceded the club may need to think about replacements.
The Brazilian striker is expected to spend some time on the sidelines after sustaining a knee injury in the World Cup.
His knock has left some Arsenal fans fearing their title charge might be derailed after the Gunners raced into a five point lead before domestic football paused.
Jesus has proven to be an integral part of Arteta’s side following his summer transfer from title rivals Manchester City.
The 25-year-old limped off during Brazil’s shock World Cup group stage defeat against Cameroon earlier this month.
Arsenal have since confirmed Jesus has undergone an operation on his right knee but have not put a timescale on his return.
He posted a picture of himself on crutches on Instagram as he continues to fight his way to fitness.
The forward added the caption “progressing” with prayer hand emojis.
Meanwhile, his manager has conceded the Gunners may need to dive into January’s transfer window to cover for Jesus.
Speaking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s Boxing Day clash with West Ham, Arteta said: “With Gabi it’s difficult to put a time frame. I never gave a date. I said that we don’t know.
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“It’s going to take some time for sure. He’s gone through surgery and that tells you the extent of the injury.
“We will be in the market always active and we will assess the biggest opportunities that we have.”
The World Cup came at the worst possible time for the in-form London club.
Arsenal had won seven of their last eight Premier League games and have not lost since an early September trip to Old Trafford.
That result might have been different too if Gabriel Martinelli’s goal had stood, with VAR this week admitting the decision was a mistake.
Manchester City’s shock defeat to Brentford last month allowed Arsenal to open a five point lead in the table.
Difficult fixtures against Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United await the table toppers in January.