Most Arsenal supporters would tell you they already wanted another dedicated forward added to the club before the summer transfer period closes, either to push Olivier Giroud for a starting place or at least to provide a little more experience than Yaya Sanogo offers. It wasn't as big a need as a physical, imposing defensive midfielder or another centre-back, but it was on the list.
Now it might have been pushed to the top, as Giroud could be out of action for up to three months, according to BBC Sport. And one of the targets Arsenal is pursuing, Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, could be just what the doctor ordered.
Arsenal are set to explore a move for Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck to help ease the loss of injury victim Olivier Giroud. As Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday, Giroud is facing an extended period on the sidelines after sustaining an ankle injury against Everton on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger will move to strengthen his forward line before next week's transfer deadline, and Welbeck features on the club's list of options. Sportsmail understands the Gunners were keen on Welbeck prior to Giroud's injury, but fears over the Frenchman has seen their interest intensify.
It is believed Welbeck would give serious consideration to a move to the Emirates Stadium. But whether United would sell the England international to a rival remains to be seen.
Yes, United might hesitate to deal Welbeck to Arsenal and strengthen a top-four rival. On the other hand, United have spent a ton of money this summer—namely on Angel Di Maria, but even before him they had splashed some serious cash—and they might not be done buying. If that's the case, they might not have a choice but to unload some contracts.
And new new manager Louis van Gaal verified that Welbeck could leave if he chose to, per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, while remaining a bit cryptic in his comments about the decision:
'I know what I said to Danny and Danny knows exactly what I said to him,' Van Gaal said, when asked about the decision. 'I assume that Danny Welbeck is not saying anything about our conversation and also in that conversation was [the assistant manager] Ryan Giggs and he doesn’t say [anything] either, and that is the way it should be.'
Well, OK then.
Welbeck fits Arsenal for a number of reasons. For starters, while he wouldn't be cheap, he also wouldn't leave the Gunners completely broke—and they could always end up selling Lukas Podolski, even after Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday he was staying, per BBC Sport.
Arsenal absolutely, positively need to add some muscle in the midfield with Mikel Arteta out of action. That's where the big money should go. But a Welbeck signing paired with a Podolski sale wouldn't leave the Gunners so strapped that they couldn't address the midfield.
Welbeck also wants to play centrally rather than being cast out on the wing, and for the Gunners the need for him would be at centre-forward. Of course, the Gunners would also likely love that they could utilize him in a wide position once Giroud returned. Wenger loves himself a versatile player.
Still, Welbeck would be hungry to prove he could fulfill the role and live up to the potential that had Manchester United supporters so excited about his talent in the past. And Arsenal could also play him next to Alexis Sanchez in a front two rather than isolating either player, giving the club even more options.
After all, Arsenal fans need to be realistic. Edinson Cavani isn't walking through that door. Neither is Radamel Falcao nor Marco Reus (who isn't even a centre-forward to begin with).
But Welbeck would not only get a several-month trial with Arsenal at centre-forward, he'd also be the perfect complement to Giroud once the French striker returned from injury. Welbeck offered United a dangerous option off the bench last year, scoring nine goals, adding an assist and earning a 6.84 average match rating from WhoScored.com in 25 Premier League appearances last year.
Of course, maybe Arsenal are happy with a rotating door of Sanogo, Sanchez and Podolski at striker. One thing is for certain, however—if Giroud is indeed out for three months, most Arsenal fans will be less pleased with that trio manning the forward position.
Sanogo is unproven, while Podolski can't consistently lead a line himself. And while the jury is still out on Sanchez playing the role, he's no target man and has shown in his career to be a world-class player on the wing or utilized as a second striker.
So yes, anyway you slice it, Welbeck seems like an elegant solution to what could be a very, very big problem for the Gunners. If United are willing to sell to a rival, Arsenal should be ready to buy.
The club's supporters most certainly would welcome the move.
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