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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Josh O'Brien

Gabriel Jesus sent concerning Arsenal warning as striker nears return from injury

Arsenal ace Gabriel Jesus has been warned he is not guaranteed of a starting spot in Mikel Arteta's first choice lineup once he returns from his lengthy injury.

The Brazilian has been sidelined since the World Cup having gone under the knife for knee surgery, but his return could soon be upon the Gunners. Jesus was filmed talking to UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov at the Emirates during last Sunday's 3-2 win over Manchester United and the forward told the Russian he could be back on the pitch in five weeks.

While that may be music to the ears of the Emirates faithful as their £45million-man looks set to regain fitness at such a crucial stage of the season, Gunners legend Nigel Winterburn has claimed it is not a certainty that Jesus simply waltzes back into the Arsenal team.

Many feared for Mikel Arteta's men and their title hopes when news of Jesus' three-month lay-off broke, but deputy Eddie Nketiah has shone so far in the role and kept dreams of a first league title since 2004 alive on Sunday.

The England Under-21 ace netted a brace in Arsenal's last league outing against Manchester United, with his second goal of the afternoon coming in the form of a 90th-minute winner to maintain the five-point gap the Gunners have over nearest challengers Manchester City.

Winterburn has praised Nketiah for his contribution thus far, as well as issuing the warning for Jesus as he told Paddy Power : "Eddie Nketiah has been brilliant since coming into the team, which will mean that Gabriel Jesus will need to earn his place back when he comes back from injury.

Eddie Nketiah has been in fine form since he has been thrust into a starting role (James Williamson/AMA)

HAVE YOUR SAY! Should Nketiah keep his place when Jesus returns to match-fitness? Comment below

"He’s doing a fantastic job in terms of his energy and his link-up play – he’s providing much more than just goals. The question was whether Arsenal would go into the transfer market looking for a new striker, as a backup to Nketiah, but this hasn’t been the case.

"If the team can provide Eddie with enough chances in the box, he’ll find himself in the right position. He will have learnt a lot from his run in the team last season, with his positional play and getting into the box more, being an extra option."

Gunners boss Arteta was pressed for comment on Jesus and his exchange with Nurmagomedov where he claimed he could be back in five weeks, but the Spaniard kept his cards close to his chest.

"With him, I don’t know. He wants to be next week. It’s totally unrealistic," Arteta told reporters. "He’s pushing and driving everyone to the limits. Hopefully, it will be weeks not months."

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