Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is unsure how long Gabriel Jesus will be out for after the striker underwent successful knee surgery following an injury with Brazil at the World Cup.
The 25-year-old injured his right knee during Brazil’s 1-0 defeat by Cameroon last Friday in their final group game.
Reports have suggested Jesus could be out for up to three months but the club are not putting a timescale on his return as yet, with Arteta echoing this stance on Thursday.
Asked whether Jesus has a return date after Arsenal’s 3-0 friendly win over Lyon in Dubai, Arteta said: “No. Obviously we know that, he needed some intervention in the knee, and we will have to take (it) day-by-day, week-by-week and see, where it takes us.”
The Gunners have striker back-up in Eddie Nketiah, who scored in the win over Lyon, while Gabriel Martinelli can also play in a centre-forward role if required.
Asked whether the club will look to sign a striker in January, Arteta responded: “Where it affects us is who we are as a team, because he gives us so much.
“So what we can do after that, when we know a little bit the timescale and when we can have him back, we will look at the options, and try to make the right decision.”
Jesus has scored five goals and assisted five in the Premier League to help move the Gunners top of the table.
Questioned if his squad is strong enough to win the Premier League with Jesus injured, the Spaniard replied: “We have players, we have a lot of accompanying players.
“It’s do we have the players that can give us the performances and the consistency we need to be and maintain and improve from where we are?”
Arteta ‘really pleased’ with Lyon win
Arsenal scored all three of their goals against Lyon in a dominant first half with defender Gabriel Magalhaes opening the scoring from Martin Odegaard’s corner.
Fabio Vieira set up Nketiah for Arsenal’s second on 32 minutes before Vieira added a third himself with a delightful left-footed effort into the top corner.
“Really pleased,” Arteta said of the victory. “We always enjoy being here. It’s a place where we get really well looked after, where we have the right conditions to play and train.
“And it was our first game here since I’ve been a manager, and it was a great experience. So thank you so much for everybody involved, making this possible.
“And obviously really happy, because this is about winning and we won today, and I think playing at a good level.”
The game finished with a penalty shootout which provided Arsenal with a bonus point as 20-year-old goalkeeper Karl Hein made four saves to give Arsenal a 2-1 win on spot-kicks.
Marquinhos, 19, and 22-year-old Matt Smith managed to convert for Arsenal as no fewer than seven penalties were missed.
Asked about playing his youngsters in the match, Arteta said: “It’s great. They are always with us. They are really involved in our processes.
“We know that we want to (give) opportunities to young players. It’s something that we are very adamant to do, and having them in camp is great.
“And to see them – some of them at a very young age – performing and having opportunities with the first team, it’s really nice to see.”
Arsenal fixtures in December and January
December 26 – West Ham (H), Premier League – kick-off 8pm
December 31 – Brighton (A), Premier League – kick-off 5.30pm – live on Sky Sports
January 3 – Newcastle (H), Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm – live on Sky Sports
January 9 – Oxford United (A), FA Cup third round, kick-off 8pm
January 15 – Tottenham (A), Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports
January 22 – Manchester United (H), Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm – live on Sky Sports
January 28/29 – Potential FA Cup fourth-round tie