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TRANSFER NEWS: Boss Mikel Arteta have agreed to make a move to Germany as a new bayern Munich headcoach sealed deal

Gabriel Jesus says he’s hoping to stay fit in the coming months so he can do a full pre-season with Arsenal after a ‘tough’ campaign hampered by more knee issues.

The Brazil international hinted three weeks ago that he may have to sit out this summer’s Copa America in the United States if its decided an operation is the best way to resolve ongoing problems.

The 27-year-old injured his right knee at the World Cup in Qatar in December 2022 and then underwent a follow-up procedure in August after feeling discomfort on the eve of the new season.

“It’s tough,” said Jesus when asked about his injuries by the Arsenal official matchday programme.

“I’ve loved playing football since I was three years old so being injured is hard. Last season I think I played my best six months before the World Cup, when I got my knee injury, and everyone knows what happened after.

“This season has been tough – I missed pre-season, had surgery again and then had a couple more injuries.

“I’m doing my best to help the team, and hoping to stay fit so I can do a full pre-season this summer. Then it’s a different story.”

While Jesus has been available for most of Arsenal’s matches – he’s played 33 times in all competitions – he’s still sat out three small chunks of the campaign and looked out of sorts in the penalty box, particularly in recent weeks.

His last league goal came against Nottingham Forest at the end of January since when his teammates have netted 41 times.

In Jesus’ absence, Kai Havertz has been pushed further up the pitch to play at number 9 and he’s thrived. The German has eight goals and 5 assists since mid-February leading to rumours he could retain the role continuously.

Indeed, yesterday, The Athletic speculated that Jesus’ days at Arsenal could be numbered. Much will depend on the Brazilian’s fitness, but if he’s feeling more confident about being ready for pre-season, then clubs could be attracted by the prospect of signing a hugely experienced player.

It has to be said, Jesus doesn’t speak like a man who sees his future elsewhere. He was lured from Manchester City by the prospect of being central to Arteta’s long-term project and he still has a point to prove.

“We are working hard to make the fans happy and we’re going in the right direction to fight for titles every season. It doesn’t happen straight away,” he said.

“Last year was important but unfortunately we didn’t win. We’re fighting again this year and if we don’t win it this time we’ll go again next season. That’s the most important thing.”

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