Arsene Wenger wants Danny Welbeck to sign a new contract with the club, and cites the forward’s versatility as one of his key strengths in the squad.
Welbeck’s current contract with Arsenal expires in 2019, so soon the club will have to make a decision on his future. Ahead of Thursday’s match against Östersunds FK, journalists asked Wenger in his press conference whether he wanted the striker to sign an extension.
“I want to keep him because he has gone through a torrid time and come out well,” Wenger responded. “I like him because he can play left, right or up front, and for his quality. He is a useful player and useful is a positive.
“He might not be a goalscorer like Harry Kane but for England he can perfectly play with Kane because he can play on the flanks.”
Of course, one of the main things holding Welbeck back with Arsenal is his injury record. Joining the club should’ve given him the chance to be the main man, and reach his potential. Instead, he was out for extended periods of time and when he returned, Wenger had new first-choice strikers.
The manager says those kinds of injury problems can have a psychological effect on you, and Welbeck needs to overcome them if he wants to stay at the club.
“One of the advantages of being young is that you feel indestructible,” he explained. “It gives you an arrogance but when you lose that belief in your body, your arrogance is hit and you are lost. You can get it back but it takes time.
“There was a time when I remember him playing for England in Switzerland and he looked marvellous. I see signs of him now in training where he is like that period.
“He’s a player we’d all like to come back. If he can stay on the pitch and not be injured, I want him to stay here.”
The time Welbeck played for England in Switzerland was just days after Wenger signed him, so I’m not surprised he was a fan of the striker at the time. It’s been three-and-a-half years since then, and we’re still only seeing ‘signs’ of that player in training.
I’m all for giving players chances, particularly when coming back from injury. We’ve seen the rewards of that with the likes of Aaron Ramsey in recent years. Then again, if Welbeck still isn’t showing that Switzerland form on the pitch by the end of the year, it might be time to cut our losses.