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Danny Welbeck: A worthy Arsenal signing?

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Did Arsenal actually benefit from signing Danny Welbeck from Manchester United back in 2014?

A close inspection of Danny Welbeck’s Arsenal career so far provides two major spotlights. Firstly, the winning goal he scored against Manchester United at Old Trafford in FA Cup quarter final 2015, where Arsenal, finally went on to retain the title. Secondly, the 95th minute winning header he scored against Leicester City at Emirates back in February, 2016 to cut down Leicester’s lead at the top of the table to 2 points. Although, Leicester City won the league with Arsenal finishing runners up by a massive 10 point margin.

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Signed from Manchester United on the transfer deadline day in September, 2014 for a fee of £16 million, he had a decent first season with the gunners making 34 appearances and scoring 8 goals. Known as an injury prone player, he missed a total of 17 games in his first season, owing to thigh and patella problems. The injury problems started complicating with knee and hyaline cartilage problems keeping Danny out for a total 59 games between September 3, 2015 and January 2, 2017, where he was fit for only 3 months making 15 appearances and scoring 5 goals. This season, he has appeared in 9 matches and scored 3 goals.

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When signing for Arsenal, he was viewed as a brilliant alternative to Olivier Giroud. Given his pace, physicality, stamina and decent ability for link up play upfront, he could create havoc in opposition defences, as evident from his Manchester United days. He can run behind the defence with ease unlike Giroud, and can also play comfortably with his back to the goal. He has got that lightning pace to go past decent centre backs. Moreover, he can play in the wings and has got good defensive workrate. Used by Arsene Wenger occasionally as wing forward and striker, he provided Arsenal with all his strengths whenever he has been fit. Although his fundamental weakness lies in is his finishing, he has scored good goals, mainly based on positioning sense and capability to keep nerve in big matches. But injury problems have hugely hampered his progress over the years with Danny Welbeck, now viewed as a squad player rather than among the most important ones in Arsenal team. The talented England international, once thought to be the solution of Arsenal problems upfront has spent more time on the sidelines nursing his injury than on the pitch since signing for the club.

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Danny Welbeck’s contribution for Arsenal, until now, has been very disappointing to say the least. A player of his calibre, who won the Premier league title with Manchester United in 2013, is expected to deliver much more than what he had for Arsenal. Now at 26, he must be at the top of his game. Welbeck’s contract runs till 2019, and he must now remain injury free and fire Arsenal to glory, to justify the burden of hopes and expectations that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans have on him.

But, if his injury problems goes on like this, Arsenal must consider signing some world class striker equipped with all those qualities Welbeck possess, mainly from being a regular goal scorer, remaining relatively injury free and be very mobile and having excellent link up playing ability whenever used as a lone striker in Wenger’s 4-2-3-1 formation.