By 90Min
November 19, 2018

Danny Welbeck has a broken ankle. It's busted, kaput - much like his season. He also has a contract at Arsenal which ends this summer. He'll likely play some football again before his current deal ends, but not much. 

That sucks for Welbeck, it really does. It's one of the worst things that can happen to a footballer: to have to search for a new contract from a new club whilst being unfit. But, by no means, does his ankle break merit a new contract from his club for the sake of sympathy. 

I get it, it's sad; it's so cruel. We only have to think of Santi Cazorla and the way injuries ate into the final years of his contract (and literally his leg as well) to realise how awful this situation is. It's just the pits. But if Arsenal really wanted to give the Englishman a new contract, they would have done so by now. 

Granted, the club had a hectic summer but the dust has settled and football has been played. Arsenal have had plenty of time to judge Welbeck and the 27-year-old has impressed. He was playing pretty well before his injury - scoring five goals in all competitions and appearing in 14 of the 17 games Arsenal had played up to that stage of the season.

David Ramos/GettyImages

But look at how the Gunners have managed some of their other assets in recent times. Talented youngster Reiss Nelson was recently given a new contract - having entered the final year of his previous deal himself - before being sent out on loan to Hoffenheim. Arsenal marked him as a player they wanted, and they made a deal to keep him at the club. 

Then you have Mesut Ozil. His story, his contract saga, seemed to drag on forever. But eventually Arsenal settled on paying him £350,000 a week in order to retain his services. This experience, however, seems to have taught the club to be a little tougher in their future negotiations. 

Aaron Ramsey is famously in a similar position to Welbeck, but it seems this new hard nosed Arsenal contracting team - led by director of football Raul Sanllehi - have decided they'd rather let the Welshman go on a free than fork out a premium on wages as they did for Mesut Ozil. 

If they're happy to let Ramsey, a much more valuable player leave, why would they change their stance on Welbeck, just for an injury? It doesn't make sense. 

Look, Danny Welbeck is a pretty good footballer. He's not a brilliant one, but, at Arsenal and Manchester United, he's deservedly spent most of his career playing for two of the best teams in English football.

The caveat, however, is that he's never really been seen as an invaluable member to either of those team's starting lineups. He's reliably been used as a squad player with the ability to drift in and out of the team when fit and required. 

In fact, it's his willingness to play second fiddle to some of his teammates - seen now with him as third choice striker behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - which has helped him maintain such a long spell playing at English football's peak. 

When at Manchester United he played alongside, though mostly behind in the pecking order, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov, Nani, Chicharito, the list goes on. Even at international level he has survived a handful of English manager's over the years due to his persona as the ever-content backup option. 

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

So perhaps this injury is a sign. Perhaps it's for the best that Arsenal's hand may be forced: they hadn't decided to give the Englishman a new contract and now they ought not to do it out of sympathy. It's time for Danny Welbeck to cut himself loose from a big club where he has to settle for bit-part roles. He needs to take one step backwards to move two steps forwards.

He's a talented player, no doubt. Athletic, hard working, good in the air, capable of playing on either wing, as part of a striking duo, or leading the line by himself. Yes, sometimes he plays like bambi on ice after a stag-do (there's a pun in there somewhere) but he's also an experienced winner. He has 16 international goals; he has over 200 Premier League appearances; he has won the FA Cup; he's lifted the Premier League. 

For most teams, 'Dat Guy' would be a player worth having. But I don't think Arsenal see it that way. And if that is true, their stance should not change just because of an injury. Danny Welbeck should not be offered a new contract by the Gunners. Nor should he want one.

He should go out and make himself a regular for a slightly lesser team whilst he still has some of the best years of his career ahead of him.

It'll be a difficult journey, but good luck to him. 

You May Like