Despite the arrival of Louis van Gaal, Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck remains determined to leave Old Trafford this summer. The England international is fed up of being played out of position and feels his chances of establishing himself as the Red Devils’ main centre-forward are so slim the time has finally come to leave the club he joined as an 11-year-old.
Under both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, Welbeck often found himself shunted out to the left flank or left on the bench entirely. Many of his 139 appearances for the Premier League giants have come as a substitute, while you can count the number of times he’s started as the team’s most-advanced forward on the fingers of one hand.
Now 23, Welbeck knows it’s not in his best interests to move clubs. But, fortunately for the Manchester-born forward, he will have a number of options on the table this summer - the most attractive of which should come from Arsenal.
North London rivals Tottenham are also keen but, if Arsenal produce a big which matches United’s valuation of the player, Welbeck should jump at the opportunity to join the Gunners.
For starters, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will only pursue and purchase a player for big money if he really wants him, unlike several other Premier League managers who will remain unnamed. The Gunners’ boss is on the lookout for a new striker to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud, and there’s no doubt Welbeck would be a major upgrade on Nicklas Bendtner, who finally left the Emirates Stadium after nine years at the club this summer. Yaya Sanogo, meanwhile, needs to go out on loan before Wenger considers him a serious option.
Although Welbeck is keen to establish himself as an out-and-out striker for both club and country, he admitted in a revealing interview with the Guardian at the weekend that he doesn’t mind playing on the left of an attacking 4-3-3 system. Wenger likes his sides to have pace on the counter-attack, and that’s precisely what Welbeck can deliver.
Welbeck on the left and Theo Walcott on the right would give Arsenal some serious pace on the flanks, while both are more than capable of chipping in with ten or more Premier League goals every season. That Welbeck can play either as a left-sided attacking winger or as a centre-forward makes him an extremely attractive proposition for Arsenal. It could be argued that Lukas Podolski is a similar type of player in that respect, but the England international possesses a little more guile and is five years younger.
On the rare occasions Welbeck played through the middle this season, he scored goals. During the absence of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, he scored five goals in as many matches and looked every inch like the real deal. He even cemented his status as United’s third-choice striker ahead of Mexico international Javier Hernandez, who the Gunners have also been linked with in the past.
There’s very little chance, however, that Welbeck will establish himself as United’s first-choice striker under Van Gaal, who has an excellent relationship with Van Persie.
Wenger, subsequently, can bag himself a brilliant deal by getting on the phone to United and making a formal offer for the young England international.