Danny Welbeck not a panic buy for Arsenal
There always has to be an element of panic buy in any deadline-day deal. But Arsene Wenger did manage to get a transfer done that is good for the short and long term for Arsenal. Danny Welbeck is 23, quick and decent value at 16 million pounds. He's also just what Arsenal need, because even when Olivier Giroud comes back, one of them won't be like a spare part.
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That could have been the case had Wenger gone for a more direct replacement for Giroud after the France centre-forward was ruled out until the new year. But now Welbeck offers a different option, as he can play through the middle -- his preferred option -- or wide and even just behind the main man. That is what Arsenal needed even before Giroud got injured because their striking options were limited.
Yaya Sanogo is not good enough yet, in my opinion. Joel Campbell doesn't seem to be getting a chance. Wenger sees Lukas Podolski as a wide player. Alexis Sanchez was bought as a central forward but in reality will take time to adjust and can also play wide, off a big striker or as part of a two-man attack. That means that Arsenal were very short even before Giroud was injured and explained why a forward had been on their list before deadline day.
They had enquired about Loic Remy and he was on their radar even before the final few days. They were reported to have offered Campbell as part of a deal that didn't meet Queens Park Rangers' valuation, while Chelsea met his buy-out clause to conclude the transfer.
After the raw Sanogo, 21, struggled to make an impact as Arsenal drew 1-1 at Leicester on Sunday, pressure mounted on Wenger to sign a new striker on deadline day. The opportunity to land Welbeck only cropped up because Manchester United needed to offload him after getting Radamel Falcao on loan.
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They got it across the line even after getting short shrift from United the previous week when they didn't want to do business with Arsenal. Now, two years on, Arsenal may be getting payback after letting Robin van Persie go to Old Trafford. Welbeck has scored 20 goals in 53 starts and 39 substitute appearances in the Premier League and, for the next few months, gets his wish to play through the middle with Giroud out.
But the key to any deal is that it must be a long-term solution and that's exactly what Welbeck is. He is only 23 but has signed a five-year deal which means Arsenal will get the best out of his career. Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson loved him as a player for his pace, technique and the fact that he is adaptable as a player. And that's the key: he can play wide and through the middle. He is incredibly hard-working, tracks back and also thrives whenever he plays for England.
He almost seemed to play better for England than United, maybe because he knew he was a first choice for the Three Lions which gave him confidence, rather than the backup role he had at Old Trafford. Now Arsenal can give him a run of games, and even when Giroud comes back they can still play together and work as a pair, fit into a three-man attack and give Wenger plenty of options.
Giroud's injury was incredibly bad luck but it did expose a gap in the squad that has now been plugged with a long-term solution rather than a panic buy. Maybe they should have bought another centre-half as cover. And a defensive midfielder was also on most fans' wishlist. But a striker was an immediate issue that could have undermined their whole season, so credit to Wenger for acting quickly.