Welbeck on Arsenal: 'I always imagined being a Gunner'
New striker says he is looking forward to playing under Wenger, as Fergie's assistant blasts Van Gaal
New Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck has given his first interview since arriving at the Emirates, claiming he had always imagined playing under Arsene Wenger and insisting he "could not be any happier" about the move.
Welbeck joined the Gunners from Manchester United in a £16m deal on deadline day. The 23-year-old had been at Old Trafford since the age of eight, but was deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Louis van Gaal.
"I've envisaged myself playing in this team before. For it to finally happen is very exciting," Welbeck told the Arsenal website.
He admitted he was an admirer of the Arsenal style, and said he hoped "with the magnificent players in midfield slotting balls through, I can run on to the end of those balls and slot them away".
He added: "I'd like to bring pace and power to the game. At Arsenal, we're not short of combination football and I like to join in on that and get in behind defenders and try to get shots off at goal. I want to score some goals and help the team to achieve the right results... I really do believe that coming to Arsenal is the right decision."
Although he has been criticised for his lack of goals in the past, Welbeck now has the chance to establish himself as a centre forward. "The example of Daniel Sturridge will certainly provide hope," says Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph. "He was given limited chances by Manchester City and Chelsea but has since flourished in a more central role for Liverpool, scoring 36 goals in 52 matches."
And despite reservations in some quarters he could be the man Arsenal are looking for. He is a "genuine, if rather ill-defined attacking talent" whose career had stalled at United says Barney Ronay of The Guardian.
"Take the best bits of Yaya Sanogo and Olivier Giroud – pace and agility; decent all-round finishing – slather them together with papier-mache and chicken wire and you might get something that looks a bit like a Danny Welbeck."
Certainly some former Man United figures who know Welbeck believe the deal is a good one for the Gunners. Rio Ferdinand tipped him to "flourish and explode" at the Emirates.
Welbeck is a top signing for arsenal. Good business done by them. If he gets that trust to be no.1 striker at AFC he will flourish & explode
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) September 2, 2014
Alex Ferguson's former assistant Terry Phelan praised Arsenal and said that Welbeck wanted to move there so he could play in his "best position".
But he took a swipe at Van Gaal by claiming the deal to offload Welbeck, and other young British players who have left the club this summer had "broken" United's "identity", reports The Times.