Unai Emery is looking to convert Arsenal forward, Danny Welbeck, to a defender and slot him into a left-back position when the Gunners host Premier League champions, Manchester City at the Emrates Stadium today (Sunday) in their first match of the 2018/19 season.
Aresenal are depleted in the left-back position and Emery opted to prepare Welbeck to man the position against City and even through the season if he fares well today in the makeshift role.
According to Emery, Wellbeck was tested in a left-back role as Arsenal put finishing touches in training ahead of their today’s new Premier League season opener against Manchester City.
Welbeck has struggled for regular football since joining from Manchester United in 2015, making only 12 starts in the top flight last season.
The 27-year-old has often been praised for his versatility and it seems Emery is keen to embrace this quality as he prepares for his first competitive game as Gunners boss.
With Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac expected to miss the visit of champions City to Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Welbeck has been trialled as a full-back during training.
“Danny Welbeck is one of the players who has a multi-position possibility,” Emery said. “Right-winger, left-winger, striker, and also yesterday (Thursda)] he worked with us at left-back – his performance was good! I like this spirit.”
Welbeck is among the players to have been tipped to leave Arsenal before the European transfer window closes on August 31, with David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell also expected to move on.
Emery, though, wants to keep the England international and suggested there could be no further exits.
“I said to him when he [Welbeck] arrived with us after the holidays, I want the best performance in his career from this player – and to work for that,” he said.
“[We will be] helping with his quality and also getting better with his quality and his data in this year. More goals, more assists. Working to help when we need quick pressing against the opposition.
“For me it’s clear. (On Thursday) the transfer window closed and our players will stay with us.