The Gunners forward is likely to be given another rare start when Ostersund visit the Emirates for the second leg of their Europa League round-of-32 tie tonight.
Arsenal are in complete control having won 3-0 in Sweden last week and should secure safe passage into tomorrow’s draw with little complication.
With Alexandre Lacazette injured and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible in Europe, Wenger turned to Welbeck in Ostersund but the England striker was toothless and unable to add to the modest total of five goals he has totted up so far this campaign.
The former Manchester United man has struggled with injuries ever since arriving from Old Trafford in 2014 and his contract is up at the end of next season.
Despite his patchy fitness and the club breaking their transfer record twice in six months to land Lacazette and Aubameyang, Wenger is keen to keep Welbeck at Arsenal.
“I want to keep him because I believe he has gone through a torrid time,” said Wenger.
“He has come out well. I see signs in training now that are positive. If he can stay on the pitch and not be injured, I want him to stay here.”
Welbeck’s fortunes are in stark contrast to his England international colleague Kane, who has finished as the Premier League’s top goalscorer in the past two seasons and is on course to make it a hat-trick this year.
Wenger admitted Welbeck cannot match the Tottenham striker when it comes to
goalscoring but is a fan of his adaptability.
“I like him because he can play left, right, or up front,” he said.
“For me he is a useful player, first of all because of his quality. He might not be a goalscorer like Harry Kane, for example, but for England he can perfectly play with Harry Kane because he can play on the flanks.”
Given his battle with injuries, Wenger conceded the forward has suffered a loss in confidence and lost faith in his body.
In Jack Wilshere, his international colleague and club-mate who has returned from his own injury torment to become a vital part of the team at Arsenal, Wenger believes
Welbeck has an inspiration to look up to.
Asked if Welbeck’s situation was similar to Wilshere’s, Wenger replied: “Similar.
“I always hope that the player can come back. He certainly was (an inspiration).
“When you are in this kind of situations you become closer to the guys who are in the same situation. They are very close to each other.”
While Welbeck is attempting to find some form against Ostersund, Wilshere is expected to be rested tonight as he is kept safe for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City — a game his close friend will be desperate to be a part of.
Aaron Ramsey trained yesterday as he looks to recover from a groin injury in time to feature in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
The Wales midfielder missed the Premier League defeat to neighbours Tottenham as well as the 3-0 Europa League victory in Ostersund last week.
Wenger will be hopeful the 27-year-old — who scored a hat-trick against Everton in his last outing — can feature in the final against Manchester City at Wembley.
The likes of Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny, and Mesut Ozil also trained at Arsenal’s London Colney centre although they are expected to be rested with Europa League progression all but assured.
Wenger said: “(Ramsey’s) not in the squad tomorrow, he had a good training session. We will see how his evolution goes between now and
Sunday. I don’t rule him
Meanwhile, Graham Potter admits his Ostersund side need to pull off one of the biggest upsets in history to beat Arsenal and seal a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.
“You need one of the biggest football miracles to go through, so we have nothing to lose,” he said.
“The only thing you have is the regret of not giving it everything. It is a wonderful opportunity for the players and myself to have this experience. We will be proud of what we have done, no matter what the result is we will leave with our heads held high.
“Seven years ago I left here from Heathrow to go to a fourth-division team in Sweden and tomorrow I will leave with 5,000 fans from Ostersund.”