Arsene Wenger’s recent suggestion that Danny Welbeck hasn’t been able to reach his best form at Arsenal because of his injury-woes got me thinking: will we ever see the best of Welbz?
When Welbz moved from Manchester United in 2014, Arsenal fans weren’t massively excited. We were sort of excited because he was the only player we’d signed and we were struggling after winning just five points from our first three games but other than that, he wasn’t exactly the Big Name we had all wanted.
The Manchester-born striker came to north London after netting just 29 goals during his entire time with the Red Devils and scored during his second game for us against Aston Villa. He also provided an assist.
The problem was that after scoring seven goals for Arsenal, he was ruled out with knee problems, which he’d had since his days in Manchester. The next season, they reoccurred and he was out for 122 days. The striker had to get his knee operated on, which left him out of action for 154 days. However, it was only going to get worse as just a few months after his returned, he suffered a cruciate injury and was out until January 2017.
As Arsene Wenger says, it’s almost been impossible for Welbz to find any form because although we know he’s capable, as he’s demonstrated against United several times, Everton, Liverpool, and Leicester when he scored in the final minute at the Emirates. He’s able to score in big games and he’s a good striker, even if some of his assists are failed shots.
However, the stop-start of his season due to injuries prevents him from actually gathering pace. It halts his rhythm and dents his confidence.
“I would say that for me he is a striker who has a top physical quality, good movement, and a team player as well,” said Wenger recently.
“He can score goals, he can provide, he can play through the middle, on the flanks, I believe he is a top class striker. And on top of that he’s loved by everybody in the squad, a fantastic guy on top of that, loved by everybody.
“Everyone is very happy that he’s back, he’s gone through very difficult periods in last three years, and personally I’m very happy that he’s back.”
This leads me to the question – will he ever reach his potential?
There’s no doubt that Welbz has potential, which is why it’s so frustrating to see him stutter in his development, especially now that he’s 26 and still hasn’t managed to shake off his injury-woes.
His lack of game time is directly influenced by his fitness because, when he’s not injured, Wenger is guaranteed to start him.
In modern football, we rarely have time to sit and wait for players the way Arsenal have in the past and I fear that means, as much as Wenger rates Danny, I don’t see him spending a vast amount of time in north London.
His contract runs out in 2019 and, at this moment in time, I don’t see him getting a new deal. Especially if Wenger chooses to leave after his own contract runs out. Not unless his injury problems do a complete turnabout…