In the very late hours of last summer’s transfer window Arsenal signed Danny Welbeck fro rivals Manchester United for a fee of £16million.
The deal did indeed raise a fair few eyebrows as Arsenal needed to sign a top striker for the upcoming season and many felt that leaving it that late in the window was poor, with some even suggesting and he was not the man that Arsene Wenger’s side needed.
But if you fast forward nine months Welbeck’s impact has not been one that Wenger would of been hoping for and many of those early views would have been proven right.
The Frenchman signed the striker as Arsenal were lacking a forward following Olivier Giroud’s broken ankle, it was hoped that Welbeck could successfully fill the void left by Frenchman’s absence, and even establish himself as the main man at the Emirates Stadium.
But this did not quite materialise, and the England international had mixed fortunes as he struggled with injury and form. His highs included a Champions League hat-trick against Turkish giants Galatasaray and a winner away at Old Trafford against his former employees in the FA Cup.
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Both great achievements for the one time Sunderland loanee, but it was in the league where he let himself down. Scoring just eight goals in 34 games in all competitions is a poor return in fairness and Welbeck himself will be the first to admit he should have found the net a lot more than he did.
The fact that the England man was shunted out to the left as soon as Giroud returned from injury showed that Wenger did not fancy Welbeck as a striker, and the former United striker simply did not do enough in Giroud’s absence to make the position his own.
In previous seasons for Man United Welbeck had been more prolific, and in the 2013/14 season he scored far more frequently – notching 12 goals in 39 games. The figures aren’t exactly incredible, but Welbeck won’t ever get incredible figures. He has more to his game than that, but he should be capable of getting a 1:2 ratio with the Gunners.
And that is what Welbeck needs to push himself towards, he needs to first put his injury troubles behind him. The knee injury that has caused him to miss the Gunners’ pre-season tour of Singapore will have prevented Welbeck the chance to push himself towards the number one striking position at the Emirates.
The England hit man needs to start the season with a bang and get back to his best, which is scoring goals and terrorising defences with his incredible pace and with that outstanding ability to get in behind defences. The England international can be a success at Arsenal if he can remain fit, as the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez have the vision to create chances for the former United striker.
It is a hugely important season for Welbeck and his career. Failure at a club like Arsenal two seasons in a row could seriously damage the striker’s prospects, such is the high expectations at the Emirates. A good season is needed, otherwise it maybe curtains.
But I think Arsenal can expect to see the best of Welbeck next season as he has made the transition down south now, and he will be far more comfortable for it – the Gunners can expect to see the best of the England man next season.