Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi has explained to the club website why they’re letting Danny Welbeck go this summer, as the striker’s contract comes to an end.
Sanllehi talked to Laura Woods on Arsenal Player recently, and as part of the interview, he answered questions on Welbeck’s departure. First, he explained the decision-making process involved in the final call.
“In ways, it is quite similar to the Aaron situation,” Sanllehi said. “This summer we were in talks with him to see if [he would stay or go], he had several offers (to leave), he decided to continue in the club until the end of the contract. We respected that.
“We knew that he was going to add a lot to the club over the last year, but again, we were in the last year of contract so it was a very similar situation.”
It’s hard to know exactly what Welbeck’s thought process was, but presumably, he was hoping that by staying with Arsenal he could help them back into the Champions League and earn a new contract. That way he could continue playing top-level football at a big club, rather than settling for one of his transfer offers.
Unfortunately, the striker’s injury back in November meant his good early goalscoring form wasn’t enough to achieve either target.
“Well, that (the injury) is the only risk of going to the last year of the contract,” Sanllehi continued. “You have all the upsides on the strength that you have to negotiate a new contract elsewhere, but the risk that you’re running is getting an injury on your last year, yes.”
Arsenal are taking a much harder line with players running down their deals now, which should give them a stronger position in future negotiations. Rather than looking at Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil getting massive offers to stay or go, players will hopefully be more afraid of ending up losing their negotiating power when Sanllehi lets them leave.
Of course, the likes of Aaron Ramsey are always going to be able to find a top club anyway, but it’s more of a gamble when Arsenal aren’t so desperate to offer anything to keep you.