Unai Emery has refused to rule out the possibility of Danny Welbeck signing a new Arsenal contract as the striker prepares to return to training after an extensive spell on the sidelines.
Welbeck suffered a harrowing ankle break in Arsenal's Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon in November, and with his current contract set to expire in the summer, it was thought that the Englishman had played his last game for the Gunners.
Emery, however, has opened the door to Welbeck staying in north London, and while he could return to training before this season's close, the 28-year old is unlikely to feature on the competitive stage this campaign.
Speaking about Welbeck's progress, the Arsenal manager said, according to Teamtalk: “He’s progressing very well. He is working and starting to touch the ball and to work on the pitch. His progress with such a big injury is going very well.
“It’s difficult for him to play matches this season but he is progressing very well and maybe the doctor will tell us he can come train with us in the last weeks of this season.
“After, his individual thing is to speak with the club (about his future).”
Since arriving at the Emirates from Manchester United in 2014, Welbeck has notched just 16 Premier League goals in 88 appearances and will struggle to regain a place in Emery's team due to the consistent goalscoring exploits of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
However, Premier League rules limiting the number of foreign players in each squad, as well as Arsenal's shrinking English contingent, means that there could still be a place for Welbeck in Emery's plans.
Speaking about the importance of homegrown talent, Emery said: “Every (English) team needs English players.
“Danny has his injury now. He was going with the national team and we were happy for him and the national team.
“(Promising English players) are now in (Arsenal’s) under-18s, under-19s, under-20s and under-21s teams. We have a lot of players with the possibility to grow up with us and be part of our future, and also with the national team.”
Arsenal host Newcastle on Monday as the battle for the Premier League top four reaches its business end, with Emery's side trailing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United by one solitary point with eight matches left to play.