Danny Welbeck finally wrapped up his £16 million move to Arsenal, as officials worked into the early hours to complete the paperwork, with the FA granting Arsenal an extension on the 11pm deadline to close the deal.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who was at a charity event in Rome on deadline, had constantly denied that Gunners needed a new striker, but eventually he has relented and given the fans what they were literally calling for, “Sign a f***ing striker” being the refrain emanating from Arsenal’s cohort of away fans who saw their beloved team squander a number of good chances at Leicester.
While Welbeck was probably not the man the Gunners fans were thinking of he could turn out to be an excellent signing and at £16million is a bargain in today’s market of super inflated transfer fees, especially considering he is only 23 years old, an English international and a striker, usually a combination that drives budget busting valuations.
Arsenal fans may look at his modest scoring record at Manchester United and conclude that he is not the man provide the goals that Arsenal so desperately need, however it should be noted that Welbeck never got a chance to play as an out and out striker and as always featured in a supporting role to Wayne Rooney.
Comparing the former Manchester United man to the player he was brought into replace, Olivier Giroud, the former comes out favourably. Considering his lack of games as the number one attacking option, Welbeck’s goals to game stats aren’t too far behind Giroud’s. This should reassure Arsenal fans that Welbeck is ready for the responsibility and the team will not suffer in the Frenchman’s absence.
The hope is that given more responsibility and a central role at the Emirates he will thrive and become a finisher. The 23-year-old has always impressed with work rate and general play now the challenge for him is to prove he can lead an attack.
Welbeck will have an impressive supporting cast at Arsenal in Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott, all world class players. This is Welbeck’s chance to emerge from the shadow of Wayne Rooney and shine as a front line striker rather than the bit-part player he had been reduced to at Old Trafford.
Dan O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.