Raul Sanllehi Says Arsenal May Consider January Deals After Danny Welbeck Injury

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08: Danny Welbeck of Arsenal reacts after picking up an injury during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Arsenal and Sporting CP at Emirates Stadium on November 8, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Arsenal will consider dipping into the January transfer market as a result of the injury suffered by forward Danny Welbeck recently, according to the club's head of football Raul Sanllehi. 

Welbeck is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines as a result of the broken ankle suffered during the UEFA Europa League showdown with Sporting CP earlier this month. 

Per Mark Manns-Bryant of the Press Association (via the MailOnline), Sanllehi said while the England man has the backing of everyone at the club, they may have to source a replacement, even if manager Unai Emery is willing to give youngster Eddie Nketiah an opportunity:

"That is absolutely something unplanned. Yes, that makes you consider things. I am not saying that's a green light to go to the market, but we have good players in the house also that may get further opportunities like Eddie Nketiah for example.

"We need to see. We are in November so it's a good time to start analysing what options we have in the market. We are not closing the door, but it's still not the preferred one."

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Arsenal and Vorskla Poltava at Emirates Stadium on September 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Welbeck has had two operations on his ankle, leaving Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the only two senior forwards available to Emery for the foreseeable future.

Nketiah is undoubtedly a prospect, and he has already made three Premier League appearances for the club. The 19-year-old grabbed a brace in the Carabao Cup against Norwich City last season and continues to thrive in the team's youth setup.

Welbeck posted the following image on Twitter recently, vowing to return to fitness as soon as possible: 

Danny Welbeck @DannyWelbeck

Back home... Thanks for all the love and support. No doubt I will be back stronger than ever before. Recovery grind starts now 🙏🏿❤💪🏿 https://t.co/Kv8qxTGgDk

Although Welbeck isn't a regular starter for Arsenal he's a versatile option to bring off the bench in games, as well as someone who had been getting consistent starts in the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League, thus taking pressure off Lacazette and Aubameyang.

Per James Benge of the Evening Standard, in the early stage of his tenure Emery hasn't been too keen on using the two forwards in an orthodox front pairing either: 

James Benge @jamesbenge

Looks like it'll be something like a diamond/ 4-3-1-2, first time we've seen Aubameyang and Lacazette up top together in quite a while.

If Emery was able to sign someone in a similar mould to Welbeck in January that would be ideal. After all, as it stands the Gunners are competing on four fronts, with a battle for a top-four spot in the Premier League and the FA Cup on the cards for 2019, as well as the competitions mentioned.

While the idea of giving Nketiah more chances is one that will excite Arsenal supporters, you can understand if there is some hesitancy at the club about putting too much responsibility on him at this time.

It may be the first term of Emery's tenure, but the 2018-19 campaign is one that's shaping up to be full of promise for Arsenal. Some savvy business in January would preserve that excitement ahead of the season run-in.