3 Reasons Danny Welbeck might leave Arsenal in January
Forward Danny Welbeck was given 20 minutes off the bench in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Newcastle, 12 against Liverpool six days later. On both occasions, there was precious little time to make a telling impact. Continued lack of playing time could see Welbeck considering his long-term future at the Emirates Stadium.
Making the switch from Manchester United to Arsenal in 2014, the English international has since made just 55 starts in all competitions. He remains subsidiary in Arsene Wenger’s plans. Could that spell the end of his time in London?
4th-choice striker, 3rd-choice winger
Upon his signing, Wenger revealed Welbeck would be competing with Olivier Giroud for a place up front in the Arsenal side. Three years later, however, it seems the dynamic player has fallen further down the pecking order after a rash of subsequent signings.
Summer arrival Alexandre Lacazette is currently the manager’s first-choice in attack. Olivier Giroud is first off the bench. Alexis Sanchez, who joined the same summer as Welbeck, can operate as a centre-forward and left-winger. He's preferred over the young Englishman in both roles.
With Wenger opting for a 3-4-3 formation, this season, Welbeck finds himself competing with the club’s three most expensive attacking players for a place in the side, those being Alexis, Lacazette, and Mesut Ozil. Barring injury, it's difficult to see that changing.
Between his own injuries and stiff competition for places in the Arsenal team, Welbeck hasn’t registered 1,000 minutes in the Premier League since his first Arsenal season in 2014-15. In less than 600 this campaign, he has scored or created a respectable four goals. Since his return from a groin injury on November 5th, Welbeck has been afforded just 124 minutes in eight minutes. He might want to ask Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain which support groups he attended while at the Emirates.
It’s looking like another wasted season for the 27-year-old, who has made just 39 starts from a possible 133 Premier League games since he joined Arsene Wenger’s side. He’s failed to nail down a starting place in his three years at Arsenal.
Taking steppes forward
Welbeck may have international prospects in mind when considering his future in January. He has scored an impressive 15 goals in 36 appearances for the England national team. Russia looms.
His last appearance for the Three Lions was April’s World Cup qualifier win over Slovakia. He came off the bench for the last six minutes. He’s since missed four internationals through injury. More than most, Welbeck needs regular football at club level to be considered for his country.
Given his age, the 2018 World Cup in Russia could well be Welbeck’s last. He’ll be 31 when Qatar comes around. Without establishing an extended run both domestically and for country, he will quickly fall out of consideration.
If the former Red Devil has genuine hopes for representing Gareth Southgate’s side at the World Cup, he’ll have to force a move away from Arsenal. Be it temporary or permanent, he won't be given a look otherwise.