Granit Xhaka says Arsenal need to support Eddie Nketiah as the striker looks to fill the void left by Gabriel Jesus who underwent surgery yesterday.
For the most part, Nketiah has had a watching brief in the Premier League in the opening 14 games but is set to be handed the responsibility of leading the attack for the Gunners when the action resumes on Boxing Day against West Ham United.
With Jesus likely sidelined for three months, the 23-year-old has both an opportunity to emerge from the Brazilian’s shadow and the pressure of expectation that comes with matching his impressive performances.
Mikel Arteta turned to Nketiah at the tail-end of last season in place of Alex Lacazette and the former England under-21 international made a very decent fist of things scoring five goals in the final seven games.
His form persuaded the club he was worth keeping on big-money terms and he subsequently signed a new five-year contract.
Speaking from Qatar following Switzerland’s World Cup exit at the hands of Portugal, Xhaka was asked whether table-topping Arsenal can cope without Jesus.
“We have to. We have no different option,” he told the Evening Standard.
“We have the option with Eddie, of course. He showed great games as well in the past and we need to support Gabi first.
“We need to support Eddie as well, because he will be a big, big part of the next two or three months. But I am looking forward because we have the quality to bring Eddie there and to help him.”
On Jesus’ injury situation, Xhaka added: “It’s a shame because you saw in the first round of the Premier League how important he is for us. I don’t know how big the injury is, maybe two or three months, I think.
“But he is a strong guy. It’s a small injury for him I think, and we will support him. He knows that we are behind him and hopefully we can get him back as quick as possible.”
Xhaka also confirmed that he will fly straight to Dubai to join Arsenal’s warm-weather training camp.
A 27-man squad flew out last week and that number is expected to grow with Matt Turner, Thomas Partey and Takehiro Tomiyasu likely to join them after a few days rest. It’s unclear at this point when Ben White may be available.
With a 12-week recovery, you cannot expect a player to come straight into the 1st team again. That puts us in April realistically and all for a dead rubber match.
We’ll need some sort of backup for Eddie as well. Maybe a loan, or the return of Balogun.
I hope we buy a forward as we needed depth up front anyways. Hopefully a wide forward that can play striker or vice versa
I’d advise against bringing Balogun back as he likely won’t be playing as much for us as he would at Reims and I wouldn’t want to disrupt his positive progress and development so far in Ligue 1
While I agree on this, we have to be realistic about what we can do in the January market. It’s been done before and it will be done again, but we all know it’s not an easy market. I’m not sure if the World Cup is likely to make that more or less true. However, what’s factual is that we’ve been guilty in the past of making decisions that are in a player’s best interest but not the club’s. The case is stronger to do that with a young player than it is for experienced ones, but if we aren’t… Read more »
I disagree Kris. If it goes wrong, (Balogun returning) it would seriously damage his development. We agreed to let him go, let’s stick to that and hopefully bring in an attacking player in January.
But Balogun is already 21 and older than Saka. If he cannot make some contribution now, he may never find the level.
Yeah, I think that just shows how exceptional Saka is. Lots of attacking players develop later. Van Persie was playing for Feynord and scoring in single figures at that age.
We can buy Gonçalo Ramos from Benfica or use Martinelli as a CF.
another striker is needed in january
So glad we’ve got Xhaka in our team and firing on all cylinders. Model professional, these days 👍
It’s not at all surprising, with all we’ve seen of Xhaka over the past year, why managers love the guy and why he’s been such an influential figure. And now, as he’s found a new role on the pitch and maybe a newfound maturity on and off it, he comes across as a tremendous and necessary leader.
These quotes, greatly motivational, combined with the fact that he’s flying straight to camp in Dubai after Switzerland went out like that yesterday, really speak volumes.
Model *grabbing his balls* professional
Flying straight to Dubai.
I’m starting to realise this man’s mentality, he’s a footballing warrior.
A year ago, I never thought I would like him
Not sure why everyone is so worried about Jesus’ injury. We should just sign that Mbappe fella, looks like he could do a job for us….
I feel you, bro…..I feel you
We’ll pay him 100,000 pounds + 1 and make up the difference with some Arsenal NFTs
CR7 is a free agent. Sentiments aside we could do with a proven scorer, a quick fix till the end of the season who could feed off the services of Saka, Martinelli and Odegaard.
Are you Piers Morgan, are you Piers Morgan, are you Piers Morgan in disguise.
How, given all that has happened in the past, there are still Arsenal fans clamoring for us to buy Ronaldo baffles the fuck out of me. Did you see how more fluid Portugal’s attack looked yesterday without him? That should tell you something.
He is a great player no doubt. But age has caught up with him. I, like many Arsenal fans and I am sure Arteta, will pass on this one… HARD!
Mate, ffs, get real.
We’ve got the best atmosphere in the dressing room since the Invincibles and you want Cristiano Ronaldo throwing his toys out of the pram when Arteta doesn’t start him or subs him.
Fuck that shit.
All these thumb downs are based on the arrogant perspective that we’ll find someone better in a January market. I wish us all the best.
You really want a 37 year old disruptive influence in the team?
CR7 can feed off the service of someone’s boot up his arse.
How about snapping up the wonder kid who kept CR7 on the bench?
Good thinking. We’ll probably be the only club that thinks of that.
All we need to do is pay way over the asking price so we can have another Özil/Sanchez/Aubameyang on our hands. What’s not to like?
We won trophies with those boys.
For expensive losers, I’d be inclined to cite Willian as a prime example.
Just saying. 😉
We should definitely sign him on a pay-when-plays contract. And then just leave him on the bench.
Ronaldo would make an excellent side show on match day for kids to kick balls at where he falls into a tub of water when they hit him. At ten quid a pop we’d be making money hand over fist. He’d be the centre of attention which at the end of the day is what he wants.
Someone will be shouting for a Pepe return next
Mbappe wants to play as a left winger plus he won’t track back…no no for Arteta
It’s good to see Xhaka put his Arsenal hat back on so quickly after being knocked out of the World Cup.
That was lovely to read. I hope he is persuaded to take a couple of days off, though. Will help his and our cause.
He sure will enjoy the Dubai sun and sand for a couple more weeks.
He’s made up of Granit(e).😜
A captains decision that. Total class from Granit.
Fighting talk, as ever, from Xhaka.
What a dude. Already my Player of the Season. With him in the side, anything is still possible.
Absolutely love this team-first, take-responsibility attitude. There’s a world of difference between “We need Eddie to step up” and “We all need to chip-in and help Eddie step up”. ❤️
If we are signing up top, and willing to break the bank, the answer is Cody Gakpo. Can play anywhere across the top and is dangerous in all three of the attacking positions.
Man Utd are definitely playing the spoiler where Gakpo is concerned.
If we’re spending what psv will demand for gakpo (100m) now that he’s been good at the wc, why not just dump it on someone proven like osimhen
I ♥️ Granit. And trust me. Has not always been like that. But it has become so so obvious that he wants to give everything for the club. What more could you want as a fan?
“Granite will travel straight away to Dubai.”
Fuck , I love him…
Impossible for Eddie to play every game up front in Jesus’s absence, or even to rotate in another starter into that position(ie martinelli), so reinforcements are required
Flying straight to Dubai.
I’m actually really liking this warrior mentality from this Xhaka fella, and I never thought I would say that