Here's Why Welbeck Will Prove Naysayers Wrong At Arsenal
And so it came to an end on Monday night.
The sound you hear is that of the Summer Transfer Window slamming shut with deafening aplomb, threatening to sever some of Jim White’s fingers off in the process. With it comes the end of the abominable guff – at least for the next few months – we’ve had to deal with every day of the outgoing summer. It’s also a welcome respite for those of us who have had our stomachs turn and twist as the papers churned out ‘Exclusives’ and several websites ran with stories of ‘understanding’ of the transfer swoops expected to happen in the coming days all in a risible click-whoring fest. Then in a little corner, there’s the Arsenal fan frothing in the mouth and seething with anger after watching Arsene Wenger fail to strengthen his squad significantly despite the gaping holes that needed to be plugged while trying to make sense of Danny Welbeck’s £16m move from Manchester United. Who said being an Arsenal supporter is for the faint-hearted.
The club’s failure to bring in another centre-back since Thomas Vermaelen’s exit is a terrible and unforgivable oversight that means the club have only 6 defenders and are possibly only an unfortunate niggle away from fielding the largely unproven Isaac Hayden. It’s far from an ideal situation and it remains to be seen how they will cope when the going gets tough.
The last-minute nature of Welbeck's capture may suggest it is a panic buy especially after Wenger watched Yaya Sanogo fluff his lines repeatedly at Leicester just the previous day. While the arrival of Welbeck has been received with mixed feelings by Gunners fans and understandably so when you consider his price tag, this is a signing that could well go down as a bargain should they reap handsome rewards. With a miserly 29 goals in 142 appearances during his time at United, the England international arrives at the Emirates with a point to prove. This has echoes of Daniel Sturridge’s move from Chelsea to Liverpool when he found himself on the fringes of the first team after being played on the wings. He has since flourished richly after being handed the central role he dearly craved at Stamford Bridge. With Welbeck still not turning 24 until November, he has age on his side and there’s no better place to continue his development than under Wenger’s tutelage.
Welbeck’s strongest points are his raw pace, strength and his boundless bundles of energy. At Arsenal where the build up play could be slow and ponderous, he offers a genuine counter attacking outlet for Arsenal’s array of diminutive playmakers to set up a goal chance in a matter of seconds. With Theo Walcott returning to action very soon and Alexis Sanchez slowly but surely adjusting to life in England, Arsenal have a pacy attacking trio that would give the creative needy genius that is Mesut Ozil runners ahead of him to benefit from his steady supply of assists. He also comes in with Premier League experience under his belt and so would need little to no time to acclimatize to his new surroundings. As things stand, he’s the only member of the Arsenal squad with a Premier League Winners medal.
In United’s first leg Round of 16 Champions League clash against Real Madrid in 2013, he scored a vital away goal at the Santiago Bernabeu to become the first Englishman since Alan Smith to score there since 2001. Over the two legs, he was deployed – at the expense of Wayne Rooney - to prevent Xabi Alonso from starting play from deep which he did to great effect especially in the second leg at Old Trafford until Nani was sent off. This is indicative of a player who is ready to put a decent shift in and at Arsenal where there are only few players willing to get stuck in, he provides a much welcome alternative, representing a break from the norm. His link up play on the ball is excellent and with Olivier Giroud out until the turn of the year, he should provide the other players around him with knock-downs which the absent Frenchman does ever so well. Until his arrival Arsenal faced the grim prospect of having Sanogo – a player who looks like he could do with a loan spell in the Championship – lead the line in Giroud’s absence, which was, frankly speaking, unacceptable at a club with supposedly high ambitions. Welbeck will go straight into the team and should make his debut during Manchester City’s visit to the Emirates on September 13.
While his goalscoring record leaves much to be desired, it’s a record that can surely be improved upon. Wenger’s decision not to bring in a defender and a defensive midfielder is a huge dereliction of duty which again leaves his team 1 or 2 bodies short of competing with Chelsea and City but their capture of Welbeck is a hugely exciting acquisition. If ‘dat guy’ delivers on his huge talent, the Emirates faithful could have a new darling to chant his name for years to come.
Cheer up, Welbeck to Arsenal is not as ridiculous as the naysayers make it out to be.