Danny Welbeck may not be the striker required to placate Arsenal supporters after links with goalscorers of greater repute, but the Manchester United academy graduate can establish himself as a player of great importance in Arsene Wenger’s little England.
Last summer Arsenal had so very nearly brokered a deal to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool, while a year on they were linked with Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and, of course, Radamel Falcao. All of these among the very elite players in their position.
But Welbeck is the player they have ended up with. A perennial trier; lacking in flair but with endeavour in abundance. He is not what the supporters wanted, even less so after the increasingly maligned Olivier Giroud was injured, but there is reason to be optimistic about Welbeck’s Arsenal career.
He need only look to international colleague Daniel Sturridge to see just what regular opportunities and faith can bring, with the former Manchester City trainee a player transformed under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.
Prior to completing his transfer to Liverpool from Chelsea in the January of 2013, Sturridge had endured a career as a bit-part player - unable to play as regularly as he would like, apart from a short loan spell with Bolton.
Upon arrival at Anfield, Sturridge had scored 26 goals in the 96 appearances he had made in the Premier League - a record not too dissimilar to that of Welbeck following his £16 million move to north London.
Welbeck managed to find the net on 20 occasions in the 92 matches he played in the league, with two of these goals scored lower down the ladder while on loan with Preston. It is a record that suggests there is potential if he is used correctly.
Out of position
Sturridge spent much of his time at Chelsea pushed out to the wing, or a wide forward role if you will, and his decision to pursue a move to Liverpool owed to his desire to join a club where he would be guaranteed regular football in a more central position.
It was something promised by Rodgers, and a decision that paid immediate dividends. In his first five months as a Liverpool player, Sturridge made hay in a dynamic system and with the backing of his new manger, scoring 10 times in just 14 Premier League matches.
This form, of course, was continued into his maiden full campaign with Liverpool, as he and Luis Suarez shared 52 league goals between them as the Merseyside club came agonisingly close to a first title in 24 years.
Welbeck, who joins Arsenal at the same age Sturridge left Chelsea, too has experienced a career of frustration, where he has been required to more frequently put in the hard yards on the flank rather than lead an attack.
His want to leave Manchester United was driven by an ambition to play as a centre-forward; a desire that is likely to have been encouraged for him to decide that a move to Arsenal represented place to progress.
Welbeck may not be a player as skilful as Sturridge, while he also lacks the same decisiveness and intent when bearing down on goal, but he has the capacity to offer a similarly positive impact to the one made at Liverpool by his international teammate.
In Arsene Wenger, Welbeck will be under the command of a manager who trusts his young players and allows them to express themselves, while his pace will allow Arsenal to attack in a way they are unable to with Giroud or Yaya Sanogo.
Culture of criticism
Little over a year ago, Aaron Ramsey was a player who, in the opinion of many, faced a season that would make or break him. So often had he become the ire of supporters, that it became almost awkward to watch him play.
However, the Wales international is now arguably Arsenal’s most important performer, and the player now expected to provide a moment of inspiration when the chips are down. He has enjoyed quite transformation.
It is more habitual than ever before to expect too much too soon from players - particularly those with so much promise - with numerous youngsters written off before they have really had a chance to prove themselves.
Every slip, stumble, mistake or fumble becomes a Vine or video and is immediately shared and derided across all social media platforms. One day you can be cock of the walk, the next a feather duster - and it takes trust from a manager and mental fortitude from a player to overcome these early troubles.
Ramsey and Sturridge have both proved it possible. When the latter signed for Liverpool, it was claimed it was his last chance to make it big. A preposterous suggestion for someone aged 23, but one to have spurred him on to new heights.
Jordan Henderson and even Gareth Bale have had to deal with great scrutiny and ridicule but both have overcome this to establish themselves as players of repute. There is a want for young British players to become stars, but sometimes an even greater desire to witness them fail.
Welbeck has been a victim of this. Manchester United fans, to their credit, had always backed Welbeck and hoped he would establish himself at the club just like those esteemed members of the Class of 92. But will anyone else really ever reach that benchmark?
He has, however, been doubted and mocked by supporters of other clubs - something apparent with the response of many Gunners, but not all, as their club pursued that last gasp deal on the transfer window’s final day.
However, Wenger has assembled his best squad for some time, yet it is perhaps one of potential greatness rather than a collection of players that will guarantee immediate success. Welbeck is the perfect representation of this, and can be central to the good times Arsenal enjoy over the next few seasons.
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