Brighton and Danny Welbeck face defining moment amid calls for new contract
With a goal and an assist across his past two matches, Danny Welbeck is starting to show his quality at a crucial time in the season.
Despite an injury-hit spell at Watford across the 2019/20 Premier League season culminating in the first relegation of his career, Graham Potter still opted to sign the England international on a short-term deal until the end of this season.
Welbeck’s recent form has sparked discussion about whether the Seagulls should extend his stay on the south coast.
The former Manchester United striker started consecutive matches for the first time for the club since November against Southampton and Newcastle United, respectively- and played a starring role in back-to-back victories.
Firstly against the Saints in what was undoubtedly a six-pointer. Despite not featuring on the scoresheet himself, he provided a well-timed and well-weighted through ball to Leandro Trossard who was able to fire home the eventual winner at St Mary’s Stadium.
Then against the Magpies, his all-round performance was rewarded with a classy effort that saw Welbeck spin away from a defender on the edge of the box before curling the ball past a despairing Martin Dubravka.
In what was only his third goal for the club, Welbeck’s strike was sandwiched between efforts from Trossard and Neal Maupay which edged the club further away from the relegation zone while compiling the Magpies’s misery.
As previously mentioned, Welbeck has scored three goals and registered one assist in the blue and white of Albion. It’s also important to remember that most of his appearances have come from the bench this season, while only completing a full 90 minutes three times this season.
In limited appearances, Welbeck has averaged 0.8 key passes, 1.4 shots, 0.8 dribbles, and 7.5 passes per game. At face value, these statistics do flatter to deceive, but it’s the work off the ball that isn’t often quantifiable by stats that makes Welbeck a prized asset to Potter.
The main question surrounding his contract situation is will Albion get value for money. In what was a free transfer last summer, his potential season-defining and Premier League preserving goal against Newcastle makes his signing as worthwhile as they get.
Continuity is often hard to maintain while competing in the Premier League and retaining the former Arsenal striker would contribute to preserving the apparent squad harmony on show at the moment. With young strikers emerging from the academy system such as Aaron Connolly, it could be vital to their development to learn and observe from the 30-year-old model professional.
Welbeck’s history with injuries is no secret, but the pros of keeping him at the club alongside Adam Lallana outweigh the disadvantages.
The remaining eight games of the season will prove crucial to Welbeck if he is to convince the Albion hierarchy to offer him a new contract.
With his hot streak in the team at the moment, it’s expected that Potter will keep him in the starting XI- it’s now up to the England international to give the club no choice but to renew his deal with his performances on the pitch.