England striker Welbeck is out of contract at the end of June but there had been no news over whether he would be granted a new deal.
And the Arsenal fans were surprised at the end of their 1-1 draw against Brighton when it was announced the 28-year-old was on his way out.
The Gunners decided to mark their final home match of the season by giving a guard of honour to senior players who had played their final games.
Everyone was expecting to applaud retiring goalkeeper Petr Cech and Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey onto the pitch.
But there was shock as the first player called out of the tunnel was former Manchester United forward Welbeck.
The PA announcer at the Emirates said: “His presence will be missed in the Arsenal dressing room.”
He was then presented with a memento of his time with the club by Sir Chips Keswick, Arsenal’s chairman
Welbeck’s time at the club since a £16 million move from Old Trafford in 2014 has been blighted by a series of injuries.
He has made just 14 appearances in his final season, but remained a popular figure with the players and the supporters.
It had been thought he would be handed a new deal by Unai Emery, with the club needing to keep their quote of English players.
But in the end the decision has been made to let him leave, with Newcastle already showing an interest in signing him on a free transfer.
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