The curious case of Danny Welbeck.
We were told, after his last performance came in April, that he could be fit for the FA Cup Final. He wasn’t.
He then missed the start of pre-season, the end of pre-season, and the start of the 2015/16 season. More than two months have passed since Welbeck was only a doubt for the FA Cup Final at Wembley, yet he is no closer to returning. What is going on with his recovery?
“It is much slower than expected,” Arsène Wenger said on Friday. “It was a bone bruising at the start. You think that it will be quite quick. He is an important player for us and the fact that he is not available is a bit of a concern.”
Theo Walcott offers pace up front, and Olivier Giroud offers a more physical threat. Welbeck can combine the two and, given enough opportunities, has a great chance of staking a claim to be Arsenal’s number one striker as the season goes on.
The England forward can also play on either flank, offering an intelligent but more direct threat than players like Santi Cazorla or Aaron Ramsey who have been used in wide roles in his absence. Last week Arsenal looked static, which wouldn’t have been the case with the Mancunian either leading the line or playing out wide.
Wenger dismissed the idea that Welbeck needs surgery and said the player is still three weeks away from fitness but that seems nothing more than a hopeful guess.
“It is bone bruising and nothing wrong at all. They have done all kinds of scans that today are very sophisticated and some of them I don’t understand at all. But they tell me no [to surgery].”
At the end of the day Wenger, intelligent as he is, is no doctor and has to trust his medical staff and/or specialists used by the club.
Hopefully Welbeck can return within three weeks but at some point you have to wonder why the root of the problem has not yet been found.