Arsenal have confirmed that Danny Welbeck will leave the club this summer in an on-pitch announcement during the match against Brighton.
The injured England international has been absent since November 2018 after he suffered a broken ankle against Sporting CP in the Europa League. His contract was due to run out at the end of the season, but no official mention was made over his future in recent months.
Danny Welbeck the first player to be recognised. Stadium announcer: “His presence will be missed in the dressing room.” pic.twitter.com/yzaU90rNcX
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) May 5, 2019
As reported by The Mirror, in a post-match presentation following the 1-1 draw against Brighton, the PA announcer said that Welbeck will be a free agent this summer, saying: “His presence will be missed in the dressing room.”
In what was an emotional night in the Emirates, the Gunners said farewell to Aaron Ramsey, who will join Juventus at the end of the season, and Petr Cech who announced his retirement.
For 11 years of service, for 369 appearances, for 64 goals, for 62 assists, for those Wembley winners, for coming back from that injury to achieve what you have with us, for EVERYTHING you’ve given to this club, we just want to say…
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 5, 2019
Welbeck joined Arsenal from Manchester United on deadline day in 2014 for a fee of £16m, and has suffered numerous injuries which halted his progress at north London over the years.
He’s made a total of 126 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, scoring 32 goals. This season Welbeck seemed to be on track for a return to good form, scoring five goals in 10 games in the Europa League this season, only to be cruelly struck down in November.
The news of Welbeck’s departure came after the result that effectively dashed Arsenal’s top four hopes, leaving them with an extremely slim chance of overtaking north London rivals Tottenham.
The Gunners will have to overcome a three point gap and an eight-goal margin in the next matchday, meaning their only realistic chance of Champions League football remains winning the Europa League.