Wenger confirmed Welbeck’s knee problem is likely to rule him out next weekend and could put a question mark over whether the striker will be fit for England’s upcoming friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and the EURO 2016 qualifier away to Slovenia.
Asked if he thought the 24-year-old former Manchester United player could be fit for the final, Wenger said:
“Welbeck will be short because he has not practised yet.”
The injury ends what has been a massively disappointing season for Welbeck. The signing of the 24-year-old England striker from Manchester United last summer for £16 million was seen as a big coup for the Gunners.
United manager Louis van Gaal justified the sale by noting that Welbeck lacked the scoring record of players like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
For the most part van Gaal has been proven right as Welbeck has struggled to score this season, his goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup and his hat-trick against Galatasaray aside.
Welbeck finished the season with just seven goals, scoring just four times in the league this season (with the last coming in December). Not quite the return that Arsenal fans were expecting.
While injuries have caused Welbeck to miss a lot of the season, he only made 18 appearances in the summer, even when fit it seemed that Arsene Wenger preferred to play him on the wing, rather than through the middle, as Welbeck clearly wants. Unfortunately for Welbeck, that is also a position where Wenger has a lot of options including Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott.
There is a lot of chatter that Arsene Wenger is in the market for a world class striker this summer to replace Oliver Giroud. It is telling that nobody believes that Welbeck could fill that role.
Nine months ago Welbeck left Old Trafford because of a lack of playing time as a central forward. It appears that despite a new postal code that Welbeck faces the same situation. A manager who is not convinced that he is clinical enough in front of goal to lead their attack.