Gabriel Jesus is back on the grass for the first time in eight weeks as he continues his recover from a serious knee injury.
The Arsenal striker, 25, last featured for the Gunners in a comfortable 2-0 win away to Wolves on November 12, having damaged his medial collateral ligament (MCL) during Brazil 's World Cup campaign. While his Arsenal team-mates have maintained their place at the top of the Premier League table, Jesus has been watching from the sidelines and on a painstaking rehabilitation programme.
Now, though, the £45million summer signing has moved a step closer to returning to action after posting an update on his progress. Jesus took to Instagram on Wednesday to share an image showing him back on the grass and wearing football boots once again.
"After 8 weeks," the Brazilian gleefully wrote, adding a series of emojis to express his relief and gratitude. Jesus was unable to help his nation go beyond the World Cup quarter-finals but now has his sights set on helping the Gunners win their first Premier League title in 19 years.
Arsenal currently boast a five-point lead over Jesus' former club and reigning champions Manchester City at the halfway stage. Although Eddie Nketiah has done a stellar job in covering the striker position, the 25-year-old's return is sure to give manager Mikel Arteta a well-timed boost heading into the final stretch.
However, the Gunners boss will have to be patient after recently revealing that Jesus' injury was worst than first feared. "Hopefully we will have him back (for the final few months of the season)," Arteta told Sky Sports. "Obviously it was a serious injury, a bit longer than we expected it. He is going to try to do everything he can to make it shorter but we're going to miss him for a while."
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"The good news is that another academy player like Eddie, who has been very patient and has been working hard and has been evolving in the way that we wanted, now he has the opportunity to show what he can do and he certainly is."
Despite his long-term absence, Jesus is still managing to make an impact off the pitch. As detailed by the Mail, the ex-City forward considered one of captain Martin Odgeaard 's 'henchmen' behind the scenes at the Emirates, ensuring that standards are kept high and the team spirit continues to blossom.
Alongside Granit Xhaka, who's a more vocal presence in the dressing room, the younger Jesus and Odegaard help arrange team social events, sometimes involving staff at the club and players' families. The trio's work is certainly paying off midway through the season, with Arteta's men in pole position to claim the grand prize come May.