It’s official, Danny Welbeck’s five-year stay with Arsenal will come to an end this summer. He has not been seen since breaking his ankle in November 2018, and he probably needs a fresh start to try rebuild his career.
As a former England international with enviable experience at both Arsenal and Manchester United, he likely won’t be short of offers this summer.
Here are six contenders to sign him and how likely a move to each side would be.
Last summer, it seemed almost a certainty that Welbeck would be sold to Southampton. The Saints, who were led by Mark Hughes, were in desperate need for a new goalscorer, but the move failed to materialise.
They were probably on to something, as they found themselves a lot closer to a relegation battle than many had expected after failing to score enough goals. It was only when Hughes was sacked and replaced by Ralph Hasenhuttl that things turned around for Southampton.
The Saints will still want a new striker, and Welbeck will undoubtedly still have some fans at St Mary’s Stadium, but it seems like the club has moved on into a new era, and their interest in Welbeck will probably be left in the past.
Likelihood rating: 3/10
With Steven Gerrard in the dugout and Jermain Defoe leading the line, Rangers have proven to be willing and able to lure English names over the Scottish border, and Welbeck could be next on their wish list.
The 28-year-old has spent time on international duty with both Gerrard and Defoe, and the pair could look to use their links to Welbeck to try convince him to move to Scotland. He certainly boasts the sort of pedigree that Gerrard is looking for at Rangers, and bringing him in for free could be a very smart piece of business.
That being said, Welbeck’s wage demands could prove to be too much for Rangers, but they may soon receive a sudden cash injection if Alfredo Morelos leaves the club. The Colombian has been linked with big-money moves to the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Marseille, so a space for Welbeck could open up in the near future.
Likelihood rating: 5/10
West Ham United
With doubts around the futures of Marko Arnautovic, Lucas Perez, Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez, West Ham United could find themselves on the lookout for a number of strikers this summer, some of whom would have to operate as a reserve. Enter Welbeck.
He’s no stranger to operating as a substitute but, when fit, he has also proven capable of leading the line from the get-go. Whether as a striker or as a winger, we’ve seen how he can impact games, and this versatility will certainly make him an attractive proposition.
The Hammers have already offered former Arsenal man Jack Wilshere a fresh start in the Premier League, and Welbeck will certainly be looking for a similar landing spot. However, after seasons of dealing with Carroll’s injury problems, they may prefer to look for a more reliable option.
Likelihood rating: 7/10
Things could get even worse if Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund target Wilfried Zaha leaves the club, meaning Roy Hodgson could be in desperate need of some new options. The former England manager is thought to be a huge fan of Welbeck, and could jump at the opportunity to sign him for free.
His injury woes will undoubtedly play a part in any decision to sign him, and Hodgson may be reluctant to hand such high wages to a player who could potentially play less than ten games for the team next season, but the lack of a transfer fee could make it a risk worth taking.
Likelihood rating: 7/10
Richarlison is the star of Marco Silva’s front line, but the Brazilian spends a lot of his time as a left-winger. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun have both struggled to pull their weight for Everton this season, and an experienced goalscorer could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
He would be capable of spearheading the Toffees’ attack, but he could also be a valuable partner to Calvert-Lewin. The 22-year-old has showcased glimpses of his quality, but perhaps just needs a seasoned veteran to help him take the next step. If only there was somebody available who has turned out for United, Arsenal and England over the last decade.
Welbeck’s goal record of 42 goals in 206 games has hardly set the world on fire, which could leave Everton looking elsewhere in their search for a goalscorer. However, there are plenty of upsides to this deal, so don’t be surprised if this goes through.
Likelihood rating: 8/10
Leading the race for Welbeck are Newcastle United, who are always involved in discussions in which the word ‘free’ is involved.
Yoshinori Muto and Joselu have fallen out of favour, Salomon Rondon may not make his loan spell permanent and recent saviour Ayoze Perez has played himself into the world of transfer rumours, so they could need at least one new forward this summer.
Next season could be the turning point for Newcastle, who need some quality recruits to make sure they are not involved in a fight for Premier League survival again. Signing Welbeck could be a low risk, high reward situation, and that will certainly sound appealing to owner Mike Ashley.
Likelihood rating: 9/10