EXCLUSIVE | By Editor Wayne Veysey
Arsenal fear Danny Welbeck will be sidelined for at least a few more months and might not even play this season, Football Insider sources understand.
The striker has been publicly ruled out by the club until at least the New Year after undergoing knee surgery in early September.
But club medics have not put a date on Welbeck’s comeback and are understood to be concerned about his recovery from a problem that has sidelined him since April.
An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the player has experienced a fresh setback as he is said to be experiencing pain in his knee when he runs at any speed above a light jog or makes simple actions such as turns.
Although the England international is still undergoing rehabilitation, there is concern among Arsenal staff that surgery has not cured the cartilage problem.
Privately, Welbeck is not expected to play for at least a few more months and might not even play in the entire 2015/16 campaign.
Football Insider revealed in early September that the £16million signing from Manchester United had suffered a setback and would be out for months rather than weeks, with four to six months the expected recovery time, after Arsene Wenger had claimed that Welbeck was recovering well from his knee problem suffered last season.
This was confirmed soon afterwards by the club as they delivered an update on Welbeck, which revealed that “Danny is now expected to be out for a period of months”.
The forward’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.
The Welbeck injury prognosis could be a factor in Wenger’s January transfer plans as he prepares for a genuine title challenge in the second half of the season.
The manager has said he will be in the market for a new midfielder after losing Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla to knee injuries that will keep them both out until at least March, and possibly longer.
He could also make a move for a new striker to provide support for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.