Is Danny Welbeck edging closer to a long awaited return?

The England international would have been incredibly useful recently, especially with Alexis Sánchez injured and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struggling for form. He hasn’t played since last April, but he could finally be about to make his comeback.

In Thursday’s press conference, Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger said Welbeck will return to full training next week. The issue is, we’ve heard a similar story a number of times and, with the transfer window about to close, you have to wonder if this is merely a ploy to strengthen Arsenal’s negotiation position.

Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshere and Arsenal's English striker Danny Welbeck react during the Arsenal victory parade in London on May 31, 2015, following their win in the English FA Cup final football match on May 30, 2014 against Aston Villa. Arsene Wenger's side made history at Wembley with a 4-0 rout of Aston Villa that underlined their renaissance in the second half of the campaign and served as a warning to English champions Chelsea. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
After almost a year out, could Danny Welbeck finally be about to return? (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

If Welbeck is still out for the foreseeable future it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Gunners look for a short-term option who can, like the former Manchester United man, play up front or on the flanks.

However, in a Q&A on the Evening Standard website on Friday, journalist James Olley hsa said Welbeck could be about to return and could even feature in the FA Cup against Burnley in eight days time.

If things progress very well, he could play some part against Burnley in the FA Cup,” Olley said.

“Seems an obvious opportunity to give him a run out, probably from the bench,but they will monitor him closely and it could be early February before we see him in action again.”

I’m not getting excited just yet, but Welbeck’s return would be an enormous boost to an Arsenal side looking to win the Premier League, retain the FA Cup and challenge Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.