Danny Welbeck has reinforced his desire to operate as a central striker for Arsenal as he prepares to make his debut this weekend after completing a £16 million transfer from Manchester United on deadline day.
Welbeck, fresh from a two-goal for salvo for England this week, is available to play for Arsenal in Saturday’s early encounter with champions Manchester City, and will be in contention to start from the off at the Emirates Stadium.
The former Manchester United player was bought to soften the blow inflicted by the long-term injury sustained by Olivier Giroud, and thus will get an opportunity to prove himself through the middle - a position in which Welbeck believes he can flourish.
“It is well known I prefer to play through the middle so when I get my opportunity I just want to show what I can do,” Welbeck told The Guardian. “Once I get into the box and am getting the chances, I have got faith in my ability.
“Before, I wasn’t getting into the box because I wasn’t playing too much as a striker [for club or country], and I had to worry about my defensive work.
“Listen, anyone can say what they want to say but I just know once I get the opportunity and a run of games up front, I will do my best. That’s definitely what I need.”
While Welbeck’s arrival initially garnered an underwhelming response from many Arsenal supporters, there is now a great deal of optimism about what he can achieve with the north London club.
His brace for England in the victory over Switzerland has led to eulogisation about his potential and lamentation from ex-Manchester United players, Gary Neville chief among them, about why a deal was ever sanctioned.
It’s amazing how quickly things can change in football and how two relatively simple goals can result in such a response, but there is little doubt that Welbeck can indeed fulfil his potential now he is an Arsenal player.
Arsene Wenger has now broken his silence on the club’s most recent acquisition, although it still remains rather odd that he had not commented until now, and believes the 23-year-old can become a player of repute for the Gunners.
The Arsenal manager did, however, also somewhat needlessly reveal that the deal would not have been concluded were he to have been in the country on deadline day, rather than taking part in a charity match in Rome.
“If I stayed in my home, Welbeck would not be here,” Wenger said on Thursday. A strange statement from Wenger and one, as it did at the time, that begs the question as to why he was not in London on the final day of the transfer window.