Pep Guardiola hopeful Manchester City starlet Gabriel Jesus will return this season

George Flood
Gabriel Jesus

Pep Guardiola is hopeful that striker Gabriel Jesus will return to action before the end of the season. The Manchester City boss has also reported an almost entirely clean bill of health for this weekend's Premier League clash with Arsenal.

Jesus proved an immediate hit by notching three goals in his first five appearances in English football after finally completing his £27m ($33.8m) summer move from Palmeiras during the January transfer window. That impressive early run was sadly halted by a broken metatarsal suffered just 15 minutes into February's 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.

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Such an injury required surgery and was expected to keep the Brazilian international sidelined for up to three months.

However, his recovery was said to be progressing well and Jesus, now back in the UK after a promotional visit to the US and a brief return home, took to Instagram earlier this week to post a picture of his crutches alongside the caption "I never want to see you again, freedom".

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Providing a latest update on the 19-year-old during a press conference held before the trip to Arsenal, an optimistic Guardiola said: "He was in New York. It was freezing. He told me that. The crutches are gone.

"He start to work and hopefully he will start to run and then help us in the last games of the season and then come back in the pre-season fit."

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While Jesus and long-term absentee Ilkay Gundogan will both remain absent for a meeting with a crisis-stricken Gunners side that have lost four of five top-flight matches for the first time since 1995, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Pablo Zabaleta are all back in contention.

"Except Gabriel Jesus and Gundogan, they are OK," Guardiola confirmed.

Asked specifically if De Bruyne and Sterling are fit after respective groin and back injuries sustained on international duty, he replied: "Yeah, Zabaleta as well. They are not top, top perfect, but they are OK."

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