GABRIEL JESUS is expected to travel to Portugal with the Arsenal squad for their Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon.
However, it is very unlikely the Brazilian striker will be involved as he continues his recovery – with his comeback set for after the international break.
Jesus, 25, has not featured for the Gunners since November 12 after suffering a knee injury at the Qatar World Cup that required surgery.
Arsenal have relied heavily on Eddie Nketiah in his absence, but boss Mikel Arteta could soon have his full-strength attacking line-up ready for the title run-in.
Jesus celebrated the north London club’s dramatic 3-2 win over Bournemouth on the sidelines at the Emirates last weekend before taking part in a warm-down session on the pitch.
And SunSport understands Jesus’ progress means he is likely to fly out to Lisbon on Wednesday to take the next step in his rehabilitation.
Arteta will not take any risks with Jesus in their last 16 first leg away to Sporting – instead using this as a chance to re-integrate his star striker further in training sessions.
It is also unlikely Jesus will be in the match day squad to face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
If all goes well, Arsenal potentially see the first game back from the international break as a chance to use him from the bench – the home outing against Leeds on April 1.
Jesus notched five goals and six assists in the Premier League before his injury, and Nketiah initially reacted well to his sudden involvement, scoring four in his first five.
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However, the goals have dried up in recent months for the 23-year-old, failing to score in his last six league matches.
Despite this, Arsenal remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League with 12 games remaining.
In that run-in, the league leaders must travel to Liverpool, Man City and Newcastle, as well as host Chelsea and high-flying Brighton.