Welbeck set for Christmas return as Wenger eyes defender


The festive period is set to see the return of Danny Welbeck, with Arsene Wenger revealing the injury-plagued Arsenal forward is on track for a Christmas comeback.

Welbeck has been sidelined since undergoing surgery in May after injuring his right knee against Manchester City in the Premier League last season.

The 25-year-old suffered "significant cartilage damage", which ended his Euro 2016 hopes, but Arsenal manager Wenger said the Englishman is nearing a December return.

"If the healing was not good, he would have been out until April. The news was excellent and he will be back around Christmas," Wenger said ahead of Saturday's clash against reigning Premier League champions Leicester City.

"That was the good news of last week, the only good news. That was very positive."

While Welbeck's bid to return to full fitness is a welcome boost following Arsenal's opening-day 4-3 defeat to Liverpool, Wenger is still short of defensive options.

Key centre-back Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are injured, and Southampton's Euro 2016-winning captain Jose Fonte, 32, has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger said age will not determine his decisions in the transfer market.

"If it is a guy of 32 and we think he has the quality then we will do it," Wenger added.

"We have been in the market a long time but if you look around in Europe, all my friends I call are all looking for centre-backs but they cannot find them."