How will Arsenal cope without Gabriel Jesus?
The 2022 World Cup has been a good watch, but Gabriel Jesus’ injury leaves a sour taste
Arsenal’s ever-sprinting number nine – the one who has helped to change this team in unforeseeable ways from last season to this present one – will be out for several months – as per multiple outlets – after undergoing successful knee surgery. The injury, sustained at the World Cup, will cost Gabriel Jesus a chance to show his ability on the world’s largest stage and will cost his club, Arsenal, a massive presence on the pitch.
Jesus’s determination and relentless nature have permeated through the squad since his arrival, and when he is not scoring, he is performing marvellous bits of skill that open up opportunities for his teammates.
How will Mikel Arteta and company get on without such an influential member of their squad fit to play?
There are options of course, and the likes of Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli will have to play larger roles up top. However, with this dreadful news coming weeks after reports emerged that Arsenal’s board would sanction further spending this winter, it would seem likely that – like last season – the Gunners will be in the market for a striker at the very least, and some more midfield and wing help too.
Arsenal: Mudryk seems inevitable
Reports have been churning out for months – since the summer transfer window ended – that Ukraine’s own Mykhaylo Mudryk wishes to play for Arsenal, and that the team wishes for him to join them as well.
The young man is a menace for Shakhtar Donetsk, and while he is nicknamed the Ukrainian Neymar for various reasons, his ability to play and perform across the entire pitch are but a few of those reasons. His price tag was first hinted to be near the six-digit mark, but, apparently, his current club have marked him down out of respect for his hard work at the club and future ambition beyond it.
At 21 years of age, and with the ability to play anywhere across the attacking front for Arteta and company, the player was a no-brainer even before the injury to the north London and Brazilian star Jesus. Now that the player is going to be out for a considerable stretch of this season, Mudryk will inevitably be purchased and join the youth movement in north London.
While he’s rarely been deployed in a central position, Mudryk certainly knows where the goal is and his play in the Champions League group stage this season is more proof that the level of competition is hardly relevant while discussing the ability of the young Ukrainian.
The team will need someone of his calibre – whether he or another force – to come in and compete with Eddie Nketiah, who has offered glimpses of his talent but likely cannot be relied upon entirely to shoulder the number nine responsibilities in the absence of Jesus. Emile Smith Rowe will also play a larger part in the second part of the season – assuming he can remain healthy.
His addition will allow someone like Martinelli to move into the number nine role when needed, and ESR can always slot into the number ten position. The combinations between the likes of Martin Odegaard, Fabio Vieira, Bukayo Saka, ESR, Martinelli, Nketiah and Mudryk will be special and difficult to stop for opposing sides, and the versatility of each player will retain Arsenal’s unpredictability in the absence of their star number nine.
Danilo remains important too, but Arsenal will survive
While the wings and forwards are of great importance for this side going forward, more help is also required towards Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey’s areas on the pitch. Palmeiras midfielder Danilo is a talent that’s caught the Gunners’ attention.
While his price tag is in the £20m region and Mudryk’s is in the £40m range, being able to score both of those talents for some £60/70m would be two grand heists in terms of price, talent and potential ability. Would the team have further money to spend if the right player came along to help bolster the attack further? It is possible, but Edu and Arteta will not spend money for the sake of watching it leave the bank account; they will hold off until summer if they cannot find precisely who they want to join this side going forward.
This team has suddenly gotten high hopes and expectations after coming into the season as just another side that was hunting for a top-four spot. With such an unbelievable pre-winter World Cup, however, things have substantially changed, and everyone has a real sense that this year can be special despite the remarkable talent that exists across the Premier League.
That means that some excitement is likely this January, especially after Jesus’ injury. For the player, it is terrible, as he provides so much for the club. When he returns though, this side will be stronger for the incoming players they purchased and for their perseverance while he was absent.
Arsenal will be just fine without him, and will perform admirably across the Premier League, the UEL, and the FA Cup with whoever they are able to field; just don’t be surprised if that involves some names that are not yet wearing the Gunners’ shirt as of early December.