Everton are in pole position to sign Danny Welbeck on a free transfer as his Arsenal contract and career draws to a close.
Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck are two key players set to leave Arsenal at the end of the season for nothing. While Ramsey has already secured his new club in Juventus, Welbeck is yet to find one. The Evening Standard are now reporting that the Arsenal forward could be on the verge of joining Everton on a free transfer after the Toffees emerged as favourites.
An ankle injury during a Europa League group stage match effectively ended Welbeck’s season, with the forward subsequently going through surgery. This season was considered to be crucial for Welbeck’s cause as the forward was aiming to get a new deal from Arsenal as he entered the final year of his contract. Arsenal decided against a new contract as Welbeck nears free agency.
There were talks of an exit last summer summer, but Arsenal kept him and let him prove worthy of a new deal. Arsenal’s chief in a recent interview stated the untimely injury midway through the season proved catalyst, and now Welbeck is on the lookout for a new club.
There’s been plenty of interest from fellow Premier League sides, but Everton might have taken the baton to win the race. The Toffees are believed to be in pole position to sign Welbeck on a free transfer. The report suggests that the Merseyside club are even willing to increase Welbeck’s current £100,000-per-week salary to seal the deal.
However, much could depend upon his medical examination before a deal is signed. Given Welbeck’s lengthy injury history, any club willing to offer him a deal would be wary of his past and would only sanction once he proves his fitness. Welbeck might get one last shot in the Europa League Final, for which he has travelled with the Arsenal squad after returning to full training this week.
If he does join Everton, a reunion with former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott could be on the cards. Walcott’s presence at Everton is considered a wildcard for the Toffees to lure Welbeck and the Arsenal man might fancy a partnership with him again. Everton might look to offload Cenk Tosun off their roster after the Turkish forward endured a torrid season.
Only Richarlison proved to be a strong force upfront for Everton this season, while the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and others proved able members of the squad. The Toffees only came to life in the second half of the season, as Marco Silva recorded home wins over Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the process.
There is every chance Welbeck might join Everton, as he reportedly wants to play for a side with ambitions to qualify for the Champions League. Everton, with their eighth-place finish, did show some of that ambition, but with right moves in the summer window, they could fine-tune an already good squad.
Overall, in the time Welbeck was fit enough to play, he proved to be a quality striker under Unai Emery. Having only managed to play in 14 games across all competitions, Welbeck scored five times. If he shows his fitness, he could be a substantial addition to any current Premier League side. If indeed Everton is the ultimate choice, then the Toffees will get their hands on a quality striker in his prime.