Mikel Arteta admits losing Gabriel Jesus is a major blow for Arsenal and the club are preparing to be active in the January transfer window.
The Gunners striker saw his World Cup come to an early end after suffering a knee injury for Brazil,
No timescale has been put on his return but having undergone surgery at the start of December, Jesus is unlikely to be available for some time.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s return to Premier League action on Monday against West Ham, Arteta said of Jesus: “I never gave a date. I said that we don’t know. It’s gonna take some time for sure.
“He’s gone through surgery and that tells you the extent of the injury, so we will be in the market always active and we will assess the biggest opportunities that we have.”
Jesus had played a key role in Arsenal’s rise to the top of the Premier League table despite failing to score in his last 10 club games.
The ex-Manchester City forward had spearheaded the Gunners’ attack and been a key creative force with six assists along with his five goals in the top flight this season.
Arteta added: “Obviously a huge blow with Gabriel Jesus and his injury.
“We’ll miss him for a period of time. The season has challenges, that’s a challenge we have to overcome, but if you’re going to be at the top there’s going to be those challenges.
“With Gabi it’s difficult to put a time frame because it was a significant injury. Knowing him, I prefer not to give any dates.”
Arsenal currently sit top of the Premier League table, five points ahead of reigning champions Manchester City.
As they bid for their first title since 2004, Arteta admits the squad will need a mid-season boost.
“We are going to be active and active means we are looking to strengthen the team,” said the Spaniard.
“This squad still doesn’t have the luxury of not maximising every single window.
“We have to do that because it’s really important but then we have to get the right profile. It has to be the right player to take us to the next level.”
One player who has been heavily linked with a move to the Gunners in January is Mykhaylo Mudryk.
The 21-year-old Ukrainian is thought to be their priority target next month.