Premier League • England

Arsenal backed for three Prem signings with Chelsea raid the easiest, as Arteta is warned off striker target who’ll disappear

Chelsea forwards Kai Havertz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Christian Pulisic

An ex-Gunner has warned Arsenal off signing a striker target who “disappeared” when it mattered most, instead urging them to sign one of three Premier League forwards from Chelsea, Newcastle and Crystal Palace.

Gabriel Jesus had Arsenal hearts in mouths when substituted early during Brazil’s clash with Cameroon on December 2. The 25-year-old could not continue after picking up a knee injury and scans later revealed an issue with the medial ligament in his right knee.

Jesus has since undergone successful surgery, though is expected to miss anywhere between two-three months of action.

It’s a bitter blow for Arsenal given what’s at stake post-Christmas. Indeed, the Gunners lead Man City by five points in the Premier League and Jesus has been a huge part in all they did well prior to the World Cup.

The Gunners do have options from within to soften the blow. Eddie Nketiah may be given a chance to shine. Folarin Balogun could be recalled from Ligue 1 side Reims after scoring eight in 15, though Arsenal appear content to let Balogun continue his development in France.

A number of centre-forwards have been linked including Joao Felix, Goncalo Ramos and Dusan Vlahovic. Interest in the latter dates back to this time last year, though Chelsea have stolen a march on Arsenal in lieu of their own injury setback.

Benfica’s Ramos, 21, hit the headlines last week when notching a hat-trick for Portugal against Switzerland. He got the nod to start once more in the quarter final clash with Morocco, though was ineffective as Fernando Santos’ side crashed out.

Wide forwards have also drawn strong links, with the inference Gabriel Martinelli could deputise up top to allow the new winger to slot in on the flank.

Three EPL forwards a better fit than striker who “disappeared”

Now, speaking via the Daily Star, ex-Gunner Emmanuel Petit has named three Premier League wingers Arsenal should look to sign to fill the Jesus gap.

The former France midfielder also warned Arsenal off a move for Ramos who he believes showed he’s not up to scratch against Morocco.

“I’m so sad for Gabriel Jesus, honestly,” said the former double winner with Arsenal. “He’s been doing a great job for Arsenal.

“I love watching him smile on the pitch and he has fit perfectly with Arteta and Arsenal.

“They need reinforcements in the transfer market. There was talk about Goncalo Ramos and although he scored a hat-trick against Switzerland, I think it’s too early.

“He didn’t have any impact against Morocco. No headers, no runs, no hold up.

“He disappeared on the pitch yesterday and I think he’s a good player, he’s doing a good job at Benfica but he’s not my first option.

“Zaha from Palace, Saint-Maximin from Newcastle or Pulisic from Chelsea would be my three they should target.”

Pulisic ‘perfect’ for Arteta – and easiest deal to make?

Zaha could be available in January given he’ll be out of contract next summer. However, now aged 30, he’d be a step away from the profile of player Edu has targeted. The Gunners chief has primarily signed players in their early-mid 20s of late.

Allan Saint-Maximin continues to struggle with injury and would be a left-field move. Of the three, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic would be the most intriguing, though he too frequents the treatment table too often.

Pulisic shone for the USA in Qatar and provided a reminder of what he’s capable of given he rarely starts for Chelsea. He’s been linked with Newcastle and Man Utd (on loan) of late, but Petit reckons he’d be perfect – and easy to sign – for Arsenal.

Petit continued: “Pulisic will fit perfectly with what Arteta wants.

“He loves playing one-touch football with good movement and he lives in London so it will be an easy switch.”

READ MORE: Chelsea muscle Arsenal off £68m January transfer after brutal injury setback sparks confirmed contact