Date: 16th December 2016 at 1:20pm
Written by:

By Will Butcher

Paul Merson believes the return of Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck is “like a new signing” for the Premier League giants.

Arsene Wenger confirmed on Friday, as quoted on Arsenal’s official website, that the 26-year-old is set to return to training next week, after a belated spell on the sidelines with a long-term knee injury.

Speaking on Sky Sports News’ Premier League Daily show on Friday, Merson was delighted to see the return of the England international.

“That’s what they need, a player who has got pace and can come off the bench,” Merson said. “They needed him back now, as they’re in plenty of competitions.

He’s like a new signing. I’m not saying he will go straight into the starting lineup, but he gives them many more options with lots of games coming up over Christmas.”

Versatile striker Welbeck has not played for the Gunners since the 2-2 draw against Manchester City in May of last season, after being withdrawn in the 24th minute.

Now, Welbeck is expected to return to training in the coming days after a successful spell in rehab.

However, Arsenal’s number 23 will face fierce competition as he looks to earn a place back in Wenger’s side. Ahead of him in the attacking department are Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez.

Able to play out wide, the pacy forward could also rival the likes of Alex Iwobi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to line up on the flanks for the North London giants.

Since his move to the Emirates in the summer of 2014, Welbeck has scored 13 goals in 41 league and cup encounters.

In other Arsenal news, this midfield star has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash against Manchester City.