The newspaper claim the Gunners are “hopeful” the 27-year-old will be able to play again in the current campaign following the broken ankle he sustained last month but “are not prepared to offer him a new contract as an incentive”.
The Times report Welbeck will become a second high-profile player to leave on a free transfer next summer following Aaron Ramsey as Unai Emery’s spending power is restricted by the huge contracts given to Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January of this year.
Good move for Arsenal?
Allowing the scorer of 32 goals and 15 assists from 126 Arsenal matches to leave for nothing while still at his footballing peak can hardly be described as great business. Or shrewd forward planning. It appears Emery is paying the price for decisions made by his predecessor Arsene Wenger, who binned his normal caution earlier this year when he sanctioned a series of mega-money contracts and transfers. The Spaniard would prefer to create room for a brilliant young talent in loaned-out Reiss Nelson, who has the potential to achieve things once expected of Welbeck. One thing’s for sure. There will be an avalanche of top clubs in England and overseas keen to sign Welbeck on a free.
This Is Futbol rating 3/10
Likely to happen?
Barring an unlikely U-turn, it appears Welbeck is heading out the Arsenal exit door, where he will be joined by Ramsey. The England striker will have little time to convince Emery or the club hierarchy to change their minds as his rehabilitation will take up much of the second half of the season, so a summer exit is starting to look inevitable.
This Is Futbol rating 8/10