GABRIEL JESUS has flown to Brazil for international duty – despite Arsenal’s growing concerns over his fitness.
The Gunners striker has not played since suffering a hamstring injury in the Champions League win over Sevilla on October 24.
SunSport reported that Jesus’ representatives did not expect him to return before early December amid Mikel Arteta’s hesitation about pushing his captain back.
However, after being surprisingly called up to the Brazil squad, Jesus is now apparently being examined by doctors in South America to see if he can be brought back.
The Samba Boys face Colombia on November 17 before meeting reigning world champions Argentina on November 22 – with their own injury problems for Neymar and Richarlison.
According to FIFA rules, Brazil is entitled to call Jesus and judge him themselves. The hope is that he can play a role in one or both of these World Cup qualifiers.
But Arsenal and Arteta’s medics told Brazil they would prefer Jesus continues his rehabilitation in north London with a hectic holiday schedule looming on the horizon.
Arsenal had hoped that sporting director Edu – a former general coordinator of the Brazilian national team – could influence the decision, but there was little pushback.
In naming the squad, Brazil coach Fernando Diniz suggested the appointment comes after a similar case involving Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli before the last international break.
Martinelli was not called up to the squad in October due to a hamstring injury, but came on as a substitute a few days later and scored the winning goal against Manchester City in the Premier League.
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Diniz explained: “For this reason we will bring Gabriel with us [Jesus] to find out the actual conditions, because we still have 15 days until the games. We believe he can play.”
Arsenal have three Premier League games in a week before December kicks off, before crucial games against Brighton and title rivals Liverpool.
Jesus has only played four league games so far and he also missed the start of the season due to a knee problem.
Arteta will be hoping some of his big names can shake off their defeats after this international break, including captain Martin Odegaard, Ben White, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith-Rowe and Thomas Partey.