Arsene Wenger silence raises questions over Danny Welbeck transfer

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Arsene Wenger has yet to say a word on Danny Welbeck, raising questions over whether the Arsenal manager actually wanted to sign the player from Manchester United.

It seems impossible to suggest that Ivan Gazidis would defy Wenger. The Frenchman has been at the helm of a totalitarian reign in north London for 18-years and has garnered complete confidence from the board on everything from training to transfers.

Refusal to spend

Wenger's methods have caused concern with Arsenal fans many times over while even board members have reportedly been left miffed by his frugal nature. Time and again Arsenal have given Wenger money to spend, only to see it left in the bank.

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His reluctance to buy a striker before the end of the transfer window threatened to undo all the hard work winning the FA Cup achieved last season. Wenger had fixed his relationship with the majority of the fans and had further increased his reputation with the signing of Alexis Sanchez.

However, the need for a striker was clear following the injury to Olivier Giroud, and Wenger refused to bite. Then, out of the blue, with Wenger in Rome to manage a charity football game, hope appeared for Arsenal fans.

Manchester United's Welbeck fell onto radar, with reports of Arsenal's interest only emerging with about nine hours of the transfer window remaining. The deal was eventually pushed through, costing the Gunners £16 million.

Wenger's silence

Caught up in the confusion of seeing this Old Trafford treasure leave for the Emirates, no one noticed the furniture that was missing from the Arsenal confirmation: Wenger's quotes.

In fact almost a week has passed and Arsenal fans are still waiting to hear from Wenger on why he decided to sign Welbeck at the last hour. This is highly unusual as earlier confirmations suggest.

Arsenal brought in five major players this summer in the form of Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, David Ospina and Welbeck. Apart from Welbeck, each of those signings were announced complete with quotes from Wenger on how good he thought his latest signing was.

Of course, the mess that was the transfer deadline day means that normal formalities go out of the window. But why the continued silence? It suggests something sinister is afloat.

Chief transfer talks

As previously mentioned, Wenger infamously took a day off from duties at Arsenal to partake in a charity match in Rome. Fans saw this as a clear sign that they would not see any new faces before the transfer window closed.

Wenger had also said several days before that he was not expecting any signings before the end of the transfer window.

He told reporters: “If we buy somebody, somebody will go because we have too many players. We have too many strikers.”

Arsenal fans were incredulous to the comments. They clearly saw a problem up front. Yaya Sanogo could not be trusted to fill Giroud's boots until January. After seeing Wenger jet off to Rome, is it possible that chief executive Gazidis took the opportunity to solve what appeared to be a major problem for Arsenal?

It is highly unlikely, but not impossible or even improbable. Welbeck was available and if Arsenal had not signed him, it looked as though Tottenham would. Wenger was nowhere to be seen and a decision had to be made. It was a PR disaster waiting to happen. Luckily it was averted. Arsenal signed a promising English striker and the problem of replacing Giroud was solved.

Sulking in silence

Imagine Wenger's face when he checked his phone. He had a new striker in his team. Possibly one he did not want. Having had complete control of his squad since arriving in north London, he would be nothing less than shocked.

So when Arsenal's media team came calling for Wenger's thoughts on the new signing, what could he say? As your mother may have told you, if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.

Again, it is worth reiterating that this is all speculation. However, it appears this situation of Wenger not speaking about a new signing is unprecedented. Try and find an Arsenal signing that Wenger has taken almost a week to say anything about.

Power struggle

Wenger obviously rated Sanogo. Why else would he play the lumbering forward ahead of Olivier Giroud on the opening day of the Premier League? 

Despite scoring no goals for Arsenal in 17 games, Wenger feels the strong Frenchman has the potential to make it in the Premier League. He may have seen Giroud's injury as a chance for Sanogo to establish himself.

So if Welbeck was signed against Wenger's wishes, it would be a serious challenge to his position as the all-powerful Arsenal manager. It would be the first time the board has stood up to him over what could have been considered as failure to respond to a desperate situation.

Always the diplomat, Wenger would not come out blasting the club the way Tim Sherwood would have done. Instead he would stay peaceful, retaining his right to remain silent on a matter he does not agree with.

The other way

Back in reality, where drama is not canned in a Made in Chelsea kind of way, it remains highly probable that Wenger was well aware of the situation when he left for Rome that fateful morning.

Arsenal had been linked with a move for Welbeck as early as August 22 when The Evening Standard claimed Manchester United were looking to offload the 23-year-old.

Manchester United would not have wanted to sell to Arsenal, meaning they would have left the deal as late as possible to see if any other offers came in. Naturally, Arsenal was the best choice for Welbeck. They're in the Champions League, fighting for titles and could offer him a place in his preferred central position.

Manchester United would have also wanted to make sure the signing of Radamel Falcao was assured before Welbeck left.

Wenger left the country knowing the team he had left behind were more than capable of brokering the deal should they get the opportunity. They got their man, playing the waiting game to perfection.

The question remains, however: Why the silence?

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Danny Welbeck
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