Arsenal’s Future at Striker in Danny Welbeck’s Hands?


I can hear the press conference already. Someone asks Arsene Wenger if the team needs a striker. His response would probably be: “We have five world-class strikers already.” By five, he’d mean Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Chuba Akpom. Although upping that to six and throwing in Yaya Sanogo wouldn’t be at all un-Arsene like.

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It’s just like the goal keeper situation. We don’t need a goalkeeper, says Arsene Wenger, that’s why we signed David Ospina.

Likewise, “we don’t need a striker, that’s why we signed Danny Welbeck.”

To an extent, I agree with Arsene Wenger. The jury is still out on Danny Welbeck. It’s not like he’s a bonafide flop. The guy had one year with a new club and the goals didn’t come. Stranger things have happened to much more established players than Danny Welbeck.

Look at Gareth Bale for instance. He was at least mildly studly for Tottenham. Move him to Real Madrid and he falls off a bit. It happens. Danny Welbeck, as a winger, wasn’t at all a bad player for United. The goals weren’t exactly tumbling out, but if you put them side-by-side with Gareth Bale, they’re actually not too far apart. Plus Welbeck rarely got the opportunity to play as his preferred striker.

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So what’s the point with all this Gareth Bale jabber?

Simple, Danny Welbeck may be better cut out for the Arsenal system, kind of like Gareth Bale was for Tottenham’s. Arsene Wenger doesn’t spend money on a player unless he’s sure that player can accomplish the ends he desires. He spent money on Danny Welbeck and he’s shown supreme faith in him in the face of heavy criticism. You better believe that Danny Welbeck knows that.

Goals aside, Welbeck actually had a really good year. ESPNFC ranks him as the 46th best player in the Premier League and that’s not a stretch by any means. He missed a lot of the second half due to injury, but I don’t take back what I said about him being the most underrated player in the entire Premier League. If he can learn to score, don’t be surprised if he becomes one of the best players in the league. He has the raw tools to do it, that much is certain.

I’ve also mentioned how much Mesut Ozil was a hit in his first year – he wasn’t. Everyone called him a flop and wished him out of town. But this year you’d have to find someone like Piers Morgan for them not be thrilled with Ozil’s performance. Danny Welbeck can do the same thing next year.

Nothing is certain, but with time to mesh more with the Arsenal system, Danny Welbeck can become elite. He has the competition within the squad to keep him on top of his game. All he needs to do is learn to finish.

Behind Danny Welbeck there stands only Yaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom. If I told you right now to pick one of those three names to be our striker, you’d still probably pick Danny Welbeck and you’d be right. Sanogo and Akpom have promise but it isn’t developed yet. Not to mention the fact that Welbeck has literally every piece of the game well in hand – aside from finishing, that is.

With the emergence of Theo Walcott as a sudden striker, Danny Welbeck has to be aware that time is of the essence. If he wants that striker role that Arsenal purchased him for, now is the time to prove that he’s worth it. I promise not to say I told you so when he does.

Next: Can Flamini challenge Coquelin?

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