Can Welbeck thrive in striker role at Arsenal in Giroud’s absence?
“Everyone at Arsenal welcomes Danny [Welbeck] to the club and looks forward to his contribution in an Arsenal shirt this season,” read a club statement from the north London outfit in the early hours of September 2nd. But are all the Gunners’ supporters really that excited about their newest addition?
When the news on Sky Sports broke that Welbeck was at one point seemingly not going to make the move to Arsenal on Transfer Deadline Day, the Arsenal fans’ reaction behind the reporter was somewhat of a relief.
However, hours later and after the 11pm cut-off time, it was confirmed that the England forward was a Gunner – signing a long-term deal for a fee of £16m.
With Arsenal frontman Olivier Giroud out for around four months with a fractured leg, it could mean Welbeck would finally get the game time he has craved, and in a central role, with unimpressive youngster Yaya Sanogo the only other option.
Welbeck, 23, certainly doesn’t bring a great goal percentage with him to his new club, having netted 29 times in 142 appearances (20.4 per cent) for Manchester United. A fair few of those matches, though, were from a wide position or off the bench.
The 26-capped England international, who has been called up for the latest Three Lions squad to face Norway and Switzerland, did have a good spell for the Red Devils last term, when he was used as a central striker. Six goals in six games over the Christmas and New Year period prove that he does have the ability to impress in that position.
New Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal clearly felt the academy product would not fit into his new plans – which we are all intrigued to see – after signing attackers Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao (on loan) in the summer.
Many would have expected Welbeck to perhaps be sent out temporarily to a club, as fellow Old Trafford homegrown player Tom Cleverley has done with Aston Villa, but instead he has sought pastures new in London. More crucially, also in the Champions League.
“I’ve envisaged myself playing in this team before,” Welbeck claimed. “For it to finally happen is very exciting.”
“I’ve been at United ever since I was a little boy and I had a great time there. I just think this is the next stage of my development – to come to Arsenal, to really show people what I can do as a footballer and hopefully get to the place where I want to be. I really do believe that coming to Arsenal is the right decision.”
Welbeck’s debut for the club won’t come until after the international break, on September 13th, but that gives him more time to fully prepare for the enticing home Premier League fixture against champions Manchester City.
The forward, despite his young age, has a wealth of experience in big games, and could see himself lining up alongside Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey in attack.
His arrival has done nothing to improve Arsenal’s Premier League title odds, in fact they have lengthened to 11/1, but will a fresh start at the Emirates also represent a change of opinion from fans?