With rumors of a potential squad overhaul following Arsenal’s omission from Champions League for the first time in 20 years, some players that are aging, underperforming, or just surplus requirements to the squad/can’t get into the team may be released or sold. Could Danny Welbeck be “Dat Guy” to leave?
I like Danny Welbeck. He is my favorite player in all of football. I loved him from the moment Louis van Gaal said that he couldn’t fit into Manchester United’s team and deemed him not at the level of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Radamel Falcao. Frankly, Louis van Gaal was correct in some way. Since joining Arsenal, Welbeck hasn’t scored enough. He has often exhibited a poor first touch at critical moments. He swings-and-misses in potential goal-scoring opportunities more frequent than infrequent. In addition, he hasn’t played a full season since his arrival to the team in August 2014, as he’s been debilitated by lengthy knee injuries. Arsenal fans want a “world class striker” to supplant the current, mediocre crop of goal-scorers at the club, such as Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, and Welbeck. The red team from North London perennially succumbs to season-defining injuries (Santi Cazorla last season and this season and Walcott as well). Looking for another “world class striker”, so that the team isn’t so heavily reliant on star player Alexis Sanchez, has some logic to it.
There is one thing, however, that you cannot deny about Welbeck: his work rate. He is always utilizing his speed and strength to maneuver around the opposing team’s defense.
And with that work rate, he produces special moments. The Galatasaray hat-trick. His first game and goal at Old Trafford, knocking out his former team in the FA Cup quarter-finals. His return from a nine-month period on the sidelines, due to injury, scoring a last-minute winner against Leicester City. The Salt-Bae celebration goals. The two-footed challenge on Fabregas. Those are the reasons why he is my favorite player: the things he does (whether it be scoring or just mere hustle plays) are etched in my memory due to their significance and timeliness.
I think about his future at Arsenal due to his performance in the recent FA Cup final against Chelsea. Even though he didn’t score, he gave David Luiz and Gary Cahill a tough time tracking his movement as he was always making runs behind. He also tracked back into his own half to dispossess the Chelsea midfielders and retrieve the ball. His strength and pace lead to Victor Moses receiving the first of his two yellow cards. The fact that he put in such a performance against a stout defense in a championship match demonstrated his unique capabilities as a striker leading the line; one who can expose an organized defense, making them more susceptible to attacks. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger must’ve noticed the same qualities as well, even with Giroud, Walcott, and Lucas Perez on the bench, all who’ve amassed more goals than the former Manchester United striker. (On an unrelated note, does Welbeck remind you of Emile Heskey)?
If there is going to be a big change in the squad this summer, a reliable goal-scorer, in addition to Alexis Sanchez (if he stays), may be what the club is seeking in this summer’s transfer window. I have a feeling Arsenal is going to be a bit more assertive than usual in the transfer window, in acquiring and offloading players, especially strikers. I admire Danny Welbeck and love his play and the poignant moments he has created. I, along with many other fans (I’m sure Arsenal Football Club too) hope he would score more. If it were up to me, I would keep him. But if the club deems his ever-present work rate not enough for Arsenal to achieve great heights this coming season and eventually decide to let him go, I can understand.