According to reports in The Sun, Everton are interested in signing Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck, whose time with the north London club appears to be coming to an end. His contract expires at the end of the coming season and Unai Emery will no doubt want to make changes to the squad he inherited from Arsene Wenger – especially if he can free up some funds in the process.
But what would be the ramifications of the England international moving to Goodison Park this summer? We take a look at the potential consequences of an agreement over Welbeck taking place for both Arsenal and Everton…
Everton’s pursuit of Richarlison suggests Welbeck is being eyed by Marco Silva for a slightly different role and if there’s one obvious advantage to the England attacker, it’s that he can operate anywhere across the front-line. Theo Walcott looks likely to keep the right wing berth but in truth, it’s at centre-forward where Everton really need some quality in depth. Cenk Tosun steadily built up some momentum towards the end of last season after arriving in January, but still didn’t quite convince that he can be relied upon for a whole campaign.
Welbeck’s arrival would immediately put Tosun under pressure and that could bring the best out of the Turkish international depending on how he reacts to some healthy competition. In any case, Everton desperately need better options up front and Welbeck would be a massive upgrade on Oumar Niasse.
Arsenal didn’t really settle on a unanimous option for the left wing following Alexis Sanchez’s January departure, with the likes of Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang giving the role a go at various stages of the second half of last season. Welbeck would have been a decent candidate for it, even if it were only in the short term, but a move to Everton could convince Unai Emery to test Lacazette there instead.
After all, the Frenchman is a talented forward who cost Arsenal a club-record fee and while few would dispute Aubameyang is the more potent goalscorer, it feels like a monumental waste to leave the former Lyon star sitting on the bench every week, waiting to be brought on and spare Aubameyang the final ten minutes.
Lacazette’s featured there just twice for Arsenal before without scoring, in both instances from the bench. But if Emery can construct the role in such a way that he ends up being more a strike partner for Aubameyang than a centre-forward lost out wide, it could prove to be an incredibly effective ploy.
Everton’s hunt for Richarlison strongly suggests the Toffees won’t be swooping for Wilfried Zaha anyway, but a deal for Welbeck as well would put such a scenario far beyond doubt. Crystal Palace want a whopping £60million for their talisman and although there has been talk of a reduced fee with Yannick Bolasie returning to Selhurst Park as a makeweight, Silva will have other key areas of the squad that need addressing this summer aside from the forward line.
That doesn’t mean Zaha will end up staying in south London though; plenty of clubs will be interested in taking the Ivory Coast forward off Palace’s hands, especially if Everton’s other business has priced them out of the race for his signature.
Back in May, Arsenal’s transfer budget for the summer was reported to be around £70million and it would seem Emery has maxed that out with the Gunners’ business so far this summer coming to roughly the same sum. However, the north Londoners are reportedly keen on Andre Gomes, and at the start of the month The Independent even reported that Emery was willing to raise the funds needed to sign the Barcelona midfielder by selling some of the players already at his disposal.
Welbeck won’t bring in a huge sum – Transfermarkt value him at just £13.5million and Everton won’t want to pay much more for a player whose contract expires next summer – but he could nonetheless add something to the kitty to bring Arsenal closer to the fee required to prize the Portuguese playmaker from the Nou Camp. There’s plenty of deadwood at the Emirates Stadium right now and if Sven Mislintat can get rid of a few more bodies in addition to Welbeck, Arsenal should have the financial resources to get a deal over the line.