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Arsenal’s title ambition at risk as injured Gabriel Jesus can be replaced with African player


Arsenal's title ambition at risk as injured Gabriel Jesus can be replaced with African player

Arsenal striker, Gabriel Jesus had undergone a successful surgery following the injury he copped in Brazil’s 1-0 defeat to Cameroon in their last Group G game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The striker has now begun his rehabilitation which is expected to have him out of the game for three months.

That is a long time in football considering the impact of the player to Arsenal’s title ambitions.

The Gunners are currently atop the Premier League table, five points ahead of current Premier League champions, Manchester City.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Edu, the club’s new Sporting Director will be hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement for Jesus who will score goals and contribute generally to the team’s success.

Eddie Nketiah may not be entirely trusted with consistently scoring goals for Arsenal despite his impressive end to last season’s campaign.

Arsenal decided not to hand a new contract, even if on a one-year deal, to Alexandre Lacazette who has since returned to his former club, Lyon.

Retrospectively, that seems an ill-advised decision now as the experienced Lacazette offers much more than scoring goals just like Jesus does.

Moving forward, there are three African players who can do the job for Arsenal on a loan (short-term deal) including a Nigerian striker until Jesus regains full fitness – unless the club intends to hand them longer contracts.

1. Ismaila Sarr (Watford, England)

The Senegal international was one of his country’s finest players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The African champions were eliminated by England in the round of 16 but Sarr showed his mettle to the world.

It’s a bit surprising that he still plays for a Championship side. Perhaps this is the time for Arsenal to salvage him from that ignominy.

2. David Okereke (Cremonese, Italy)

The former Nigerian U-23 international plays for Italian Serie A side, Cremonese this season scoring five goals in seventeen all-competition appearances.

Okereke may not have scored up to double-digit goals yet but the quality of his strikes and his all-action playing style mirrors that of Jesus.

The Nigerian should be the perfect short-term fix. A six-month loan deal is not a bad idea.

It’s also a good opportunity to prove himself to Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro.

3. Vincent Aboubakar (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia)

The lion himself! The Cameroon international might be in the twilight of his career but his experience and skill are necessary to make a team like Arsenal better.

Aboubakar scored the only goal in Cameron’s win over Jesus’ Brazil at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

That was the first time an African side will be beating the almighty Brazilians in the history of the tournament.

Aboubakar also scored a delightful lob and assisted Eric Choupo-Moting in the 3-3 draw against Serbia in the group stage.

The built-like-tank striker was the top scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in the year.

Considering his status, his short-term deal may not have to be just six months. He could get an 18-month deal and probably end his illustrious career at the Emirates.

By the summer of 2024, after he must have helped his national team to a great feat at the Afcon, the Gunners would have discovered some younger talents to learn from the feet of the wily one.

The issue though is: would he agree to leave the Saudi Arabian club where he earns big for the glamorous English Premier League and  Arsenal?

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