Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus has had minor knee surgery and will miss the start of the Premier League season.
Jesus did not play in Wednesday’s pre-season win over Monaco and manager Mikel Arteta confirmed afterwards that the Brazil forward will be out “for a few weeks” after a “little procedure”.
The 26-year-old’s injury is related to the knee problems he had last season, which also required surgery.
“It’s a big blow because we had him back to his best,” said Arteta.
Speaking after Arsenal beat Monaco 6-5 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium, the Gunners boss said Jesus had felt some pain in his knee for the past few weeks.
“Unfortunately he had a little procedure this morning. He had some irritation in the knee and we had to get it resolved. It’s not major but he will be out for a few weeks I think,” Arteta said.
“We had to make a decision and the best one is to protect the player and to get him back as quickly as possible, so we decided to do it.”
Jesus’ injury comes four days before Arsenal face treble winners Manchester City in the Community Shield and 10 days before their first match of the Premier League season against Nottingham Forest.
Nketiah shows he can fill gap
Eddie Nketiah is now likely to lead Arsenal’s line in those games and he captained the Gunners against Monaco as Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber made their first Emirates starts.
Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale made an early save from Aleksandr Golovin before Monaco took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark when France midfielder Youssouf Fofana headed in Mohamed Camara’s cross.
They missed a good opportunity to double their lead soon after when Guillermo Maripan missed from close range before Arsenal’s £100m summer signing Rice saw a shot blocked.
The French side led until two minutes before half-time, when Nketiah timed his run well to finish at the back post from Gabriel Martinelli’s corner.
Monaco were regularly getting behind Arsenal’s defence and missed two great chances early in the second period as Wissam Ben Yedder hit the post before Golovin struck a shot straight at Ramsdale from 12 yards.
Arteta replaced Rice with fellow new arrival Kai Havertz as one of seven changes shortly after the hour mark.
Two of the other changes combined to almost put the Gunners in front on 73 minutes when Jorginho’s fine pass sent Leandro Trossard through on goal but he shot straight at Philipp Kohn.
The game was settled by a penalty shootout, with Ramsdale saving former Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino’s effort before centre-back Gabriel converted the winning spot kick to win the Emirates Cup.
The game completes Arsenal’s pre-season campaign, which included a defeat to Manchester United and a victory against Barcelona on a tour of the United States.
Their next match is against Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley on 6 August (16:00 BST)
Arteta’s side will then be back at the Emirates for their opening game of the Premier League season when they host Nottingham Forest on 12 August (12:30 BST).