Saturday 24 August 2019

Gunners confirm Welbeck departure

Welbeck joined Arsenal from Manchester United.

Danny Welbeck (centre) has said his goodbyes to the Arsenal fans (John Walton/PA)
Danny Welbeck (centre) has said his goodbyes to the Arsenal fans (John Walton/PA)

By Jim van Wijk, Press Association Sport

Arsenal have confirmed the departure of England forward Danny Welbeck, who leaves the club at the end of his current contract along with goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, meanwhile, is joining Juventus as a free agent when his deal expires on June 30.

Arsenal also announced left-back Cohen Bramall, midfielder Charlie Gilmour, 20, and young Spanish defender Julio Pleguezuelo would also not be at the Emirates Stadium next season.

A brief statement on the club website read: “We thank them all for their contributions to the club and we wish them every future success.”

Welbeck, 28, joined Arsenal from Manchester United during 2014 and went on to win the FA Cup under Arsene Wenger.

Often utilised as an attacking option off the bench, Welbeck suffered a string of injury setbacks, the latest being a broken ankle against Sporting Lisbon in a Europa League tie on November 8.

Despite the striker’s long-term future being in doubt, the club had not made any official comment, while new head coach Unai Emery also gave little away.

However, following the Gunners’ final home match of the Premier League season against Brighton, when a 1-1 draw ended hopes of a top-four finish, Welbeck was honoured with a memento from Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick, and the stadium announcer added he would be “missed in the dressing room”.

Emery later confirmed the decision Welbeck would leave when asked about the issue at the end of his post-match press conference.

Goalkeeper Cech is set to retire, but has been heavily linked with a return to his former club Chelsea in a sporting director role.

View this post on Instagram

Dear Gunners We were close to add an important chapter to this amazing club's history. But to be close ... is unfortunately not good enough. This is hard to accept. I'm very disappointed. It was our objective to bring Arsenal back on the highest international level and to win trophies. Both belong to this great club. I wish my teammates, my coach and his staff, all hard-working employees and all Gunner fans simply the best! I'm confident our team can complete our mission next season! I loved to be a part of this club. It was a great challenge and experience without a happy end, unfortunately. Thank you very much for your overwhelming support! It was much appreciated! See you Stephan #COYG #WeAreTheArsenal #YaGunnersYa #ThankYou

A post shared by Stephan Lichtsteiner (@stephanlichtsteiner) on

Full-back Lichtsteiner, meanwhile, leaves a year after signing from Juventus, with Arsenal opting not to extend his deal.

Switzerland captain Lichtsteiner, who made 23 appearances in all competitions for the Londoners, posted a farewell message to the Gunners on his Instagram account looking back on the disappointment of defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final.

Arsenal are expected to move in the summer transfer market.

Talks are said to be at an advanced stage to sign Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco, who joined Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang during February.

PA Media

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