Wednesday 22 November 2017

Danny Welbeck back in training and targets Arsenal return by end of year

Arsenal's Danny Welbeck
Arsenal's Danny Welbeck

Jeremy Wilson

England striker Danny Welbeck has resumed training at Arsenal and is still targetting a comeback from knee surgery before the end of the year.

Welbeck was ruled out for around nine months back in May but is actually ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and Arsene Wenger is ready to let him rejoin full training this month.

He would then wait at least two weeks before considering him in the first-team again, meaning that he could be an option during the festive period.

Given the severity of the injury – Welbeck suffered what was described as “significant cartilage damage” against Manchester City – the likelihood is that he will be introduced back gradually in the New Year but his return will come as a significant boost.

Lucas Perez again struggled in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat against Southampton, while Olivier Giroud is a major doubt for Saturday’s match against West Ham United with a groin injury.

Alexis Sanchez will almost certainly return as the main striker against West Ham, although the club are monitoring his fitness following a hamstring alert when he was on international duty with Chile last month.

Mohamed Elneny was substituted against Southampton due to sickness but could return on Saturday but there remains no timescale on Santi Cazorla, who is not yet back training, amid an inflammed Achilles tendon.

It has been reported that Cazorla could require surgery although Wenger is expected the provide a fuller update on Friday.

"Cazorla, I don't know, honestly. It's just inflammation," Wenger said on Wednesday. "It can go in two days, two weeks — I don't know. He has no setback, the inflammation is just still here. At the moment, it's stable."

Yaya Sanogo is also suffering from a slightly mysterious medical complaint.

"It's confidential; not a secret problem, but it's a medical thing I cannot speak about,” said Wenger. “Not a life-threatening problem, but he had a long-term injury and I'm not specialised enough to explain to you what it is.”

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