‘Even Wolves wouldn’t go and get him!’ Paul Merson says Arsenal may struggle to make the top four let alone win the Premier League title if Eddie Nketiah replaces the injured Gabriel Jesus… as Mikel Arteta hints at January buys
While Mikel Arteta’s side can move eight points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table if they beat West Ham on Boxing Day, Merson thinks they’ll struggle to even make the top four without properly replacing the Brazilian.
Jesus injured his knee during the World Cup and is expected to be sidelined for three months, with Arteta acknowledging this week the club would have to be ‘active’ in the January window.
Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus posted this Instagram snap of himself on crutches in London after he suffered a knee injury which required surgery playing for Brazil at the World Cup
The Gunners are five points clear at the top after enjoying an excellent start to the season
But the injury Gabriel Jesus suffered during the World Cup threatens to derail their title bid
The Gunners are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over 21-year-old forward Mykhaylo Mudryk but the Ukrainian club are reluctant to sell.
In the meantime, Nketiah, who has scored 26 times in 111 Arsenal appearances, is their only recognised centre forward option.
Merson, however, believes not even bottom club Wolves would play Nketiah.
‘It’s a massive worry for Arsenal that they’re now relying on an out-of-form Eddie Nketiah when the Premier League returns,’ he wrote in the Daily Star.
‘They could go eight points clear if they beat West Ham before Manchester City play a game and you still wouldn’t fancy them to win the title without Gabriel Jesus.
The out-of-form Eddie Nketiah is Arsenal’s only recognised centre forward in Jesus’s absence
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hinted the club will try and buy a new striker in January
‘It’s hard because even though he doesn’t score an awful lot of goals, he is still so effective. If he’s out for three months, I’d be shocked if they got in the top four.
Paul Merson suggested that even bottom club Wolves would turn down Nketiah
‘Without being horrible, what Premier League team does Eddie Nketiah get in? Wolves are bottom for instance, they’re desperate for a goal and they wouldn’t go and get him.’
Merson added: ‘Jesus has just been too influential in the first few months of the season, I just don’t see how they get by without him.
‘With Arsenal, their depth isn’t quite good enough but all their best players have played virtually every game. Now all of a sudden, it’s a panic.’
Jesus signed from Manchester City over the summer and has scored five goals and assisted a further seven in all competitions so far.
The Brazilian striker posted an Instagram picture of himself walking on crutches after he returned to London, with the caption: ‘Progressing.’
Arsenal return to action against West Ham on Boxing Day before travelling to Brighton on New Year’s Eve and hosting Newcastle United on January 3.