Gunners saw Premier League title challenge crumble after injury blow

Gabriel Jesus says Arsenal cannot afford to lose William Saliba and Party again next season.

The Frenchman enjoyed a brilliant breakout year in the first-team with the Gunners after loan spells following a move from Saint-Etienne in 2019.

Saliba formed part of a strong defensive unit alongside Gabriel Magalhaes in Mikel Arteta’s first-choice backline as the club mounted a surprise Premier League title challenge.

A back injury picked up while playing in the Europa League, however, ended the 22-year-old’s breakout campaign in March and Saliba missed the final 11 games of the season.

As a result, the Gunners saw their title bid fade away.

Jesus also missed a large portion through injury but believes the squad have enough cover in attacking areas.

Still, speaking on The Denilson Show, the Brazilian stressed Saliba’s importance.

“When he plays, we concede few goals, when he doesn’t play, the number (goals conceded) increases,” he said.

“When I got injured, Eddie replaced me very well. Then we signed Leo (Trossard). We kept the pace.

“But when Saliba got injured, it was complicated. The other defenders are good, but we were playing in a certain way. Look at the stats we concede a lot less with him.”

Arsenal are set to strengthen their defensive options this summer as an aggressive recruitment approach continues.

The club have agreed a fee of £38.5m to sign Ajax star Jurrien Timber and the Dutch international is now set to jet in for his medical.

The Gunners also hope to seal a £105m move for Declan Rice before their pre-season tour of America later this month and have already signed Kai Havertz from Chelsea.


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