'Arsenal can't afford to let Welbeck leave' - Wright sees new contract as a top priority

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The England international is approaching the end of his current deal and could drop into the free agent pool next summer if no extension is agreed

Arsenal cannot afford to let Danny Welbeck walk away as a free agent, says club legend Ian Wright.

The England international is approaching the end of his current deal and has no extension in place as yet.

Such a situation has become all too familiar for the Gunners, with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez having seen contract discussions drag on last season - the latter of whom departed for Old Trafford in January.

Aaron Ramsey is also in the same position this term, with Arsenal having been unable to put fresh terms in place with experienced senior stars.

Wright believes they should be making talks with Welbeck a top priority, with the former Manchester United forward an important presence in the squad despite his form and fitness issues.

The Arsenal icon told Sky Sports when quizzed on whether the 27-year-old has a role to play under Unai Emery: “Yes I certainly do.

“Where he is right now, behind [Alexandre] Lacazette and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, coming off the bench with his experience.

“And the fact that he is capable of scoring goals against all types of opposition.

“He’s someone that I think Arsenal should definitely try to sign up for the long term.

“He’s valuable to Arsenal. I think he’s got eight to 10 goals in him over the course of a season.

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“In the current climate, I don’t think Arsenal can afford to let someone like that go.”

Welbeck, who is now into his fifth season in north London, has been restricted to just 118 appearances in total for the Gunners.

He has managed 31 goals across those outings, with four of those coming this season – including two in his most recent showing against Brentford in the Carabao Cup.

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