Unai Emery has revealed Arsenal will consider handing Danny Welbeck a new contract with the striker on course to return to training before the season’s end.
The 28-year-old broke his right ankle in November’s Europa League draw at home to Sporting Lisbon and – while he is unlikely to return this season – Emery insists he is “progressing very well”.
In his absence Arsenal have steadily improved as they have adjusted to their new manager’s methods, with fellow strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becoming particularly key amid a wider expectation Welbeck would leave this summer.
His contract then expires, five years after his arrival from Manchester United, and Emery said: “He’s progressing very well.
“He is working and starting to touch the ball and to work on the pitch. His progress with such a big injury is going very well.
“It’s difficult for him to play matches this season but he is progressing very well and maybe the doctor will tell us he can come train with us in the last weeks of this season.
“After, his individual thing is to speak with the club (about his future).”
Suggestions Welbeck could yet have a future at Arsenal also come with the 47-year-old Emery convinced of the value of his team featuring English players.
Not that unpopular, good squad player if he's happy to have that role.
— Guenzizone (@afcxm14) March 22, 2019
Jack Wilshere’s departure last summer for West Ham, Welbeck’s injury and Calum Chambers’ presence on loan at Fulham has contributed to the fact that they had no players in the past England squad.
The Spaniard – whose team on Monday host Newcastle – said: “Every (English) team needs English players.
“Danny has his injury now. He was going with the national team and we were happy for him and the national team.
“(Promising English players) are now in (Arsenal’s) under-18s, under-19s, under-20s and under-21s teams.
“We have a lot of players with the possibility to grow up with us and be part of our future, and also with the national team.”