Back in August, Arsenal said Danny Welbeck was close to full training. By the end of the month he had a knee operation to try and solve the issue which had kept him out since April.
It makes sense if Arsenal were trying to negotiate deals in the transfer window, as selling clubs wouldn’t know how desperate we were for a wide player/striker and fans would be a bit more relaxed. So, is history repeating?
According to Arsène Wenger, the Englishman is close to playing for the first time this season. Just like he was in August. It was the middle of that month when Welbeck was ‘three weeks away’ and the beginning of September when details of his operation were revealed.
This time around, in the middle of January, after months of giving no updates on Welbeck’s situation, Wenger once again said we’d see the 25-year-old in 2-3 weeks. Well, two weeks are up and there’s no sign of him, despite reports that he’s back in training. There are no photos of him joining in with the training session on Wednesday, but we received another positive update on Thursday.
“Welbeck is not completely ready but he is not far,” Wenger said to Arsenal.com as he gave team updates ahead of Saturday’s game against Burnley. “He needs a game or two because he’s been out since last April. The Stoke [under-21] game is too soon because he only had one session with the team, and that is too short.”
So, Welbeck is out this weekend and the transfer window shuts on Monday. Call me a cynic, but it all smacks of suspicion. Arsenal are keeping their cards very close to their chest on Welbeck and have done so for months, yet now the transfer window is shutting he’s almost back – just like in the summer.
I don’t want to say anything against the club, but it’s odd. Hopefully Welbeck – who I think is a fantastic player – is very close to completing his recovery, but it feels like a ploy to reduce pressure from the fans and strengthen a potential negotiation position as the end of the transfer window closes.
Then again, I could be wrong and we’ll all watch Welbeck knock Barcelona out of the Champions League. I suspect we’ll find out in the next week or so.