The England international underwent knee surgery last week and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with numerous reports stating that he should be back in action before the end of the year.
Wenger had previously said in a press conference in August that Welbeck was progressing well and would be back after the current international break, however the Frenchman has been forced to defend himself following the striker’s emergency surgery:
“I am surprised that people accused me of lying. I did not know Welbeck had had a bad setback,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Stoke City clash on Saturday afternoon.
“I gave you the information I had. I did not lie to you.”
“I heard late on Friday night [27 August] that his condition had not evolved as well as we thought.”
“He had needed specialist and needed further investigation,” Wenger added.
Welbeck’s absence has left the Gunners short of options to lead the line for the next three months as only Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott have enjoyed success playing through the middle in the past few seasons.
Other options would include Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez, but the pair are much better suited when operating on the flanks and can’t be considered as long-term solutions in the centre-forward role.
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