Gabriel Jesus returns to Arsenal training ahead of Fulham clash

Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus returns to team training with the Gunners following a knee operation, but it is unclear whether he will be able to play any part against Fulham.

Arsenal have received a major boost regarding the fitness of Gabriel Jesus, who has returned to training with the team ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Fulham.

The Brazil international missed a good chunk of the 2022-23 season due to a knee injury and subsequent surgery following the World Cup, which he aggravated during pre-season.

Jesus had to go under the knife again to address the issue, leaving Eddie Nketiah, Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard as Mikel Arteta‘s out-and-out central options for the time being.

However, Jesus’s second knee injury was nowhere near as serious as his first, and the ex-Manchester City man was expected to make a full recovery at some point in September.

Jesus’s rehabilitation appears to be going better than expected, though, as he has already been seen conducting his warm-ups with the rest of the team ahead of the visit of the Cottagers.

It is unclear whether the 26-year-old was able to take part in any ball work following their earlier exercises, and his participation this weekend is therefore still in serious doubt, but his imminent return to full fitness will be music to the ears of Arteta.

Nketiah has been given the nod through the middle during the Gunners’ opening two fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace, and the former England Under-21 international came up with telling contributions in both matches.

Nketiah scored Arsenal’s first goal of the Premier League season in their 2-1 victory over Forest before winning a penalty at Selhurst Park on Monday, which Martin Odegaard converted to give the Gunners a 1-0 triumph.

However, the 24-year-old was also guilty of missing two gilt-edged chances in the first half of that London derby, and Arteta will welcome an attacking dilemma ahead of the visit of Manchester United on September 3.

While Jesus is closing in on a comeback, fellow knee victim Jurrien Timber will be spending several months recuperating from the severe ACL injury he sustained against Forest on the opening day of the season.

Eddie Nketiah celebrates scoring for Arsenal on August 12, 2023© Reuters

Albert Sambi Lokonga (muscle) and Folarin Balogun (foot) are also yet to make a competitive appearance since picking up problems in pre-season, and neither man was seen in training with the main group on Thursday morning.

However, both men are expected to complete moves away from North London before the deadline, as Brighton & Hove Albion have apparently shown an interest in taking Lokonga on loan.

Meanwhile, Monaco are believed to be close to agreeing a fee in principle with Arsenal for Balogun, who netted 21 Ligue 1 goals while plying his trade on loan at Reims last season.

In addition to Sambi Lokonga and Balogun, all of Cedric Soares, Nuno Tavares, Rob Holding, Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney are working away from the first team, despite Arteta insisting last week that the latter was still in his plans.

The Scotland international could potentially be offered a route back into the team this weekend due to Takehiro Tomiyasu‘s suspension, but Oleksandr Zinchenko has now battled back from a calf problem and will be expected to come in on the left-hand side.

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