After a frantic transfer deadline day, Arsenal have announced that a deal for Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck has been completed for a fee reportedly around £16 million. The move has been delayed until the completion of Radamel Falcao’s big-money move to United from AS Monaco. Arsène Wenger’s pursuit of the England international increased after Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud suffered a broken foot, which will keep him sidelined until the start of the new year. And with Giroud’s understudy, Yaya Sanogo, yet to score a competitive goal for the club, fans will be relieved that Wenger has sought out reinforcements – particularly in the shape of a striker with Premier League experience.
Despite falling down the pecking order at United, Welbeck appears to be an astute signing by Wenger. Last season, the 23-year-old ranked fourth in the Premier League in goals per 90 minutes played, behind only Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suárez, and Sergio Agüero. And while Welbeck has been much maligned by fans and pundits alike for scoring only 9 times in 25 appearances last season, his statistics appear better when one considers that he only started in ten matches. But despite this, Welbeck’s signing has been met with a tinge of disappointment, particularly after a summer where the club was linked with higher profile strikers such as Mario Balotelli, Loïc Remy, and Edinson Cavani. That being said, the Manchester product brings pace, versatility, and experience despite his age, along with adding to the growing core of young British players in Arsenal’s ranks.
Welbeck will be Arsenal’s fifth signing of the summer, following Alexis Sánchez, David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy, and Calum Chambers to the Emirates Stadium. However, fans will be frustrated that Welbeck is the only signing made after the start of the Premier League campaign, where Arsenal have failed to impress thus far.
With recent injuries in both midfield and defense, and scarcity in reinforcements, Arsenal will exit this transfer window at least two players short. Having sold former captain Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona and loaned Carl Jenkinson to West Ham, the Gunners currently have only six first team defenders, including the injured Laurent Koscielny. In the middle of the park, club captain Mikel Arteta’s ankle injury in August highlighted an already present need for an additional defensive midfielder. Arsenal were heavily linked with Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, but his €30 million price tag proved too high, according to the Daily Mail.
With Arsenal’s squad set in stone until January, it is clear that they have taken massive strides forward despite a disappointing finish to the summer transfer window. Unfortunately for the North London side, their rivals elsewhere in England have bolstered their lineups to an even greater extent. Welbeck’s signing may prove to be a stroke of genius by Wenger in the end, but as of now, Arsenal still look short on challenging for the title this season.