Danny Welbeck is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering another setback in his recovery from a nasty knee injury, Football Insider sources understand.

The England striker has not played since April and the Gunners fear it could be months rather than weeks before he features again.

Sources have told Football Insider that  Arsenal are refusing to give Welbeck a comeback target as they struggle to diagnose the extent of his knee problem.

The former Manchester United man has bruising around the bone of the knee and it flares up whenever he attempts any exercise.

Welbeck’s last game was Arsenal’s goal-less draw against Chelsea on 26 April. He had hoped to return before the end of last season, and then targeted a return in pre-season, but he has suffered multiple set-backs.

Arsenal are no closer to knowing when the England international will be able to play again despite Arsene Wenger’s public claims that he is recovering well.

The Welbeck injury prognosis is a further striker blow for Wenger after summer target Karim Benzema publicly ruled himself out of a move from Real Madrid just hours before the London club’s goal-less draw with Liverpool on Monday night.

Olivier Giroud’s only competition to lead the line is currently coming from Theo Walcott, who has played only a handful of matches up front during his decade at Emirates Stadium.