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Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck provides a timely reminder of his ability to Arsene Wenger

The England international has been key for the Gunners in recent fixtures.

Martyn Cooke

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Danny Welbeck
Photo: Getty Images

It has certainly been an interesting week for Danny Welbeck.

The Arsenal striker produced a miss of the season contender against Southampton on Sunday afternoon when he somehow conspired to turn Jack Wilshere’s cross over the bar from a couple of yards out. However, he was then able to fully redeem himself by scoring a brace which included a powerful header in the second half which secured victory.

Welbeck was once again heavily involved on Thursday night as the Gunners travelled to Russia to face CSKA Moscow in the second leg of their Europe League quarter-final tie. With Arsenal trailing by two goals and seemingly in risk of throwing their three-goal advantage from the first leg away it was Welbeck that produced a smart, curling finish to drag his team back into the contest.

For the second time in five days the 27-year-old produced the goods just at the moment when Arsenal needed someone to stand up and drag the team out of a hole.

Ultimately, The Gunners would find an equaliser in Russia and progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League, yet it was Welbeck’s goal that blocked CSKA Moscow’s momentum at a point when the hosts were threatening to produce an upset.

Welbeck is something of an enigma. At 27, there is still a feeling that the former Manchester United academy graduate has yet to fulfil his potential and he has become something of a peripheral figure at the Emirates Stadium over the previous couple of seasons.

(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

The striker’s first team involvement has been sporadic due to two serious knee injuries and his return to fitness has coincided with the big-money arrivals of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, Welbeck has provided Arsene Wenger with a timely reminder with three goals in the space of five days that he is looking to secure a spot in Arsenal’s starting line-up.

Ironically, Welbeck’s path to regular game time could now come through the misfortune of Henrikh Mkhitaryan who suffered his own knee injury that is likely to side-line him until next month. It has opened the door for Welbeck to stake a claim for a starting role and his contributions against Southampton and CSK Moscow will stand him in good stead.

However, the striker is not without his critics. The 27-year-old is renowned for being somewhat erratic in front of goal and lacks a degree of consistency. He has never been a regular goal scorer and his strike against CSKA Moscow means that he has reached double figures for goals in all competitions for only the third time in his career.

Despite these criticisms there is little doubt that Welbeck still has plenty to offer. His work ethic is second to none and his pace, power and aerial threat make him a dangerous prospect for defenders when he is fit and on form.

Whilst the striker will undoubtedly be focussing on securing a spot in Arsenal’s starting eleven he may also have one eye on the World Cup in the summer.

The 27-year-old has made over thirty appearances for England since making his debut in 2011 and there is currently a distinct lack of striking options in the current international squad. Beyond the duo of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy no other forward has been able to make a significant impact at club level this season.

(during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at Emirates Stadium on April 1, 2018 in London, England.

Daniel Sturridge was a peripheral player at Liverpool and suffered an injury on his first start for West Bromwich Albion after joining the Baggies on loan in January. Tammy Abraham made a good start to the season with Swansea City but has found the next just once in the league since October. Even Marcus Rashford, one of the most promising young players in the country, has struggled to earn regular game time at Manchester United.

With that in mind, Welbeck will be keen to maintain his current form and fitness safe in the knowledge that there are still places in Gareth Southgate’s England squad that are up for grabs in the summer. If he continues to produce the same level of performance that he has provided over the past five days then he may well end a difficult season by earning a seat on the place to Russia.

Welbeck has provided a timely reminder of his ability to both Wenger and Southgate.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

Arsenal

Free agent Max Meyer would be Arsenal’s ideal Aaron Ramsey replacement

The Gunners would suffer a huge loss if Ramsey was to leave but this starlet would ease the pain.

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Max Meyer
Photo: Getty Images

Unai Emery’s work in the market so far at Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 season has impressed but there is still significant room for concern.

The Gunners added Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to their squad following the losses of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere but are at severe risk of experiencing a huge blow, as Aaron Ramsey’s future remains shrouded in speculation.

Wales international Ramsey, a figure many fans believe would be the ideal captain at the Emirates Stadium, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the Gunners may be forced into a sale as they look to avoid losing the 27-year-old on a free transfer next year.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

While Emery himself has stated that Ramsey is a crucial part of his plans for next year, his own admission that he does not know whether the former Cardiff City man will renew should send alarm bells ringing in north London.

“This is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion – I said to them – I think he is one important player for me. I’m very happy with him. Every day every training session he is with the ambition I want. He is working with quality. I want to work with him.”

Unai Emery discusses Aaron Ramsey’s future

Arsenal are confident of securing a deal with Ramsey, according to Football.London, but plans need to be made for the worse case scenario – and the Gunners could find their own bargain in the market in the form of Max Meyer.

Available on a free transfer after leaving Schalke, the 22-year-old Germany international is a target for Arsenal, alongside Liverpool, and Emery’s side are ready to do a deal as long as he lowers his staggering wage demands, according to TransferMarketWeb.

Capped four times by Germany, and a member of his nation’s squad at the 2016 Olympics, Meyer is widely regarded to be one of the best midfield prospects within European football and his versatility means he could easily fill the void left by a potential departure of Ramsey.

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Additionally, his preferred position as an attacking midfielder could see Meyer stand as the best long-term replacement for compatriot Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium, which would then allow Switzerland international Granit Xhaka to partner new signing Lucas Torreira in a deeper midfield role.

While speculation suggests that any more for Meyer does not necessarily hinge on Ramsey’s future, signing the Germany ace with the squad in it’s current shape would leave huge questions marks over who will play for Unai Emery.

Significant depth is required for the gruelling campaigns in both the Premier League and Europa League but a player like Meyer will demand first-team assurances, which he is unlikely to get if Ramsey renews his deal.

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Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
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Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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Six ins and outs Arsenal could complete this week

The Gunners continue to be extremely active in the transfer market.

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Arsenal
Photo: Getty Images

Unai Emery’s rejuvenation at Arsenal is well underway ahead of the 2018-19 season and the next week could be a busy time in north London.

The Gunners have already signed five new players, totalling around £71.1 million, according to TransferMarkt, and may now shift attention towards offloading some within the squad who are deemed to be surplus to requirements.

However, plenty of rumours still float around to suggest that Emery’s spending spree is far from over and Arsenal fans may be set to welcome further arrivals at the Emirates Stadium, with rumours suggesting that more midfield additions are targeted.

With suggestions that deals could be agreed imminently, we have rounded up the latest reports to identify a total of six deals the Gunners could agree this week.

Rodrigo Bentancur: Juventus

Arsenal have already signed one Uruguay ace this summer in the form of Lucas Torreira but are now reported to be eyeing a deal for Juventus’ Rodrigo Bentancur following his performances at the World Cup, Gazzetta Dello Sport state.

The 21-year-old is rated as one of the finest young players within the ranks of Massimiliano Allegri’s Serie A winning side but has struggled for regular playing time due to the wealth of competition that Juventus have at their disposal.

While Arsenal also have a strong midfield, which includes the likes of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, the departures of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere have left the Gunners lacking depth, which should provide Bentancur with enough playing opportunities.

(Photo by Odd Andersen/Getty Images)

David Ospina to Boca Juniors

Signed following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, David Ospina has never done enough to secure a spot as Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper and the signing of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen leaves the writing on the wall for the Colombia international.

The Mirror state Arsenal will accept a fee of just £6m for the experienced goalkeeper and South American giants Boca Juniors are interested, although his agent admitted to El Crack Deportivo that a deal would be difficult to secure.

“The possibility of Boca is something we have already spoken about, but right now it is not economically possible for a club like Boca to pay that much for a goalkeeper.”

– Lucas Jaramillo, Ospina’s agent, on a potential transfer.

Andre Gomes: Barcelona

Andre Gomes has had a difficult few years at Barcelona since signing from Valencia after Portugal’s European Championship win in 2016 and an exit for the 24-year-old looks likely to take place before the start of the new LaLiga season.

Spanish outlet Sport state an exit for Gomes is close after he was left out of Barcelona’s pre-season squad for the tour in the United States, although they name Juventus as potential rivals in the market for the Gunners.

New surroundings could be what Gomes needs to get his career back-on-track, although fans will be concerned about his form in recent years and whether he would be good enough to challenge the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira for first-team action.

Nacho Monreal to Real Sociedad

One of Arsenal’s finest performers last season, Spain international Nacho Monreal has exceeded expectations in recent years by remaining as one of the most crucial players within the squad – but his services are being eyed this summer.

El Gol Digital state Monreal is the number one priority for Real Sociedad as they look to bolster their defensive line following the sale of Alvaro Odriozola to Real Madrid, although there is no indication that Arsenal are open to a sale.

However, Monreal’s contract at Arsenal is due to expire at the end of the season and that may lead the Gunners to be tempted to approve a deal.

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Max Meyer: Free agent

22-year-old Germany international Max Meyer is a free agent after his contract at Schalke came to a close and The Sunday Express, in their printed edition (15/07), suggest that a fight for the midfielder’s services will emerge from within the Premier League.

Arsenal and Liverpool are said to be preparing to go head-to-head to land the highly-rated young attacking midfielder, although Bild stated earlier this month that his demands of £4m-a-year had led both English sides to end their interest.

With Arsenal having already lost Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, the Gunners would benefit from a bargain like Meyer in the market – especially with Aaron Ramsey’s future still uncertain.

Joel Campbell to Lazio

After six loan spells in seven years at Arsenal, it is easy to forget that Costa Rica international Joel Campbell is still on the books at the Emirates Stadium but a permanent departure for the 26-year-old could be right around the corner.

Serie A giants Lazio, fresh from losing the services of Felipe Anderson to West Ham, are said to be eyeing a move for the versatile forward to bolster their ranks ahead of the new campaign, reports from Bola VIP say.

While Arsenal lack depth in the wide areas, Unai Emery is unlikely to call upon the services of Campbell this season and a sale makes sense for all parties.

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