Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger faces a testing few months ahead, as he seeks to win the League Cup against Manchester City this weekend and seal a return for the Gunners to the Champions League.
The north London side are currently eight points behind the top-four in the Premier League and could see that margin extended this weekend due to their date at Wembley, which would lessen their chances of breaking into those spots.
As such, victory in the Europa League is seen as the ideal opportunity for Arsenal to force their way back into Europe’s elite competition and the Gunners have one foot in the round of 16 after winning 3-0 in Sweden against Ostersunds last week.
However, Wenger has plenty of work to do behind the scenes as a number of senior players are approaching the end of their contracts, with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla yet to sign a new deal and Per Mertesacker set to retire.
Whilst he has a little while longer to run on his contract, 18 months to be precise, Arsene Wenger has stated his desire for Danny Welbeck to extend his terms with the Gunners and has given public support to an attacker who has been inundated with injury issues in recent seasons.
‘I like him because he can play left, right or up front, and for his quality. He is a useful player and useful is a positive. He might not be a goalscorer like Harry Kane but for England he can perfectly play with Kane because he can play on the flanks.’
‘I want to keep him because he has gone through a torrid time and come out well.’
Prior to the second-leg against Ostersunds, Welbeck had made 23 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal and scored three goals.