Welbeck can be wonderful for Arsenal
He is not Edinson Cavani. He is not Ezequiel Lavezzi. He is certainly not Radamel Falcao.
But Danny Welbeck could still prove to be one of the most important Arsenal signings in the last decade.
The Gunners left it late on transfer deadline day, using a loophole to gain an extension and pushing the final paperwork through after the window had officially closed, but they finally got their man.
At reportedly £16 million ($33m) and tied to a five-year contract, he certainly represents value for money.
If the move doesn't work out, he'll fetch at least half of that in resale value. If it does, then it's a bargain.
It was a transfer that simply had to happen if Arsenal were to have any hope of meeting expectations this year.
With Olivier Giroud out until January, Arsene Wenger's options were limited.
Lukas Podolski has never impressed in the central role. Alexis Sanchez looks better suited to the flanks. Yaya Sanogo simply isn't ready for such responsibility.
The idea that Arsenal could cope for three to four months without an adequate striker was ludicrous.
And Welbeck is certainly more than adequate.
Though there are legitimate concerns about his low rate of scoring, to focus on that neglects two important points.
Firstly, he has never been given an extended run in his favoured central position, the role that Arsenal have in mind.
All players need time to build confidence and to adjust to the movement of their teammates.
Welbeck has been used, more often than not, out on the flanks where his pace can cause fullbacks problems.
When he has been used as the lone striker, he has known that he has had to do something exceptional to retain his place and perhaps his confidence suffered as a result.
At Arsenal, he'll know that the striker's role belongs to him. He'll have time to prove himself.
But, more pertinently, Welbeck has skills that go beyond scoring.
He is an intelligent forward, one who reads the game superbly, watching the movements of his teammates, selflessly bringing them in the game.
He's quick, but he's strong too, particularly in the upper body. He can hold the ball up by holding the opposition off.
For any team, this would be a bonus but, for Arsenal, with all of their attacking midfielders, it could prove critical.
Make no mistake, Sanchez and Mesut Oezil will be delighted to have a teammate like Welbeck.
But, for as much as Arsenal need Welbeck to perform, Welbeck needs Arsenal.
He is at a dangerous period of his career where notions of youth and potential quickly fade, where brighter, more tender talents steal the limelight.
He needs to settle now and prove that the faith Sir Alex Ferguson had in him was not misplaced.
There is also the question of international football.
Fleeting appearances from the bench might have been enough to secure a seat on Roy Hodgson's bench, but it wouldn't have been enough for the starting line-up.
Football is a hysterical, short-term sport nowadays, when teams can lurch from glory to crisis in a matter of days.
Many Arsenal fans expressed their frustrations through social media at Welbeck's recruitment.
Others gathered outside the Emirates Stadium and cheered when it was suggested that the deal had fallen through.
They should ask themselves how they would feel if Arsenal hadn't signed a striker at all.
There was a point, as readers of yesterday's TNP will have seen, when it looked as if the Gunners might not spend at all.
Whatever you think of Welbeck, the outlook is far brighter for Arsenal now.
Put simply, with poor, raw Sanogo up front, Arsenal were at risk of missing out on the top four.
Their early-season performances, the Community Shield notwithstanding, have been unconvincing affairs.
With Welbeck, they have a chance to evolve. They could be dangerous in front of goal again.
They might not win the title but, with Welbeck, they won't miss out on the Champions League.
"I worked with Danny Welbeck for a long period of time with the England Under-21s. He’s a smashing kid. He needs first-team football to push him on and take him to the next level."
— Former England international defender Stuart Pearce
"He’s a link player, he’s a creator, he’s unpredictable and don’t forget he’s still young. There’s still mileage in him and, if he is in the right team and given the right run of games, I think he will score more goals."
— Rene Meulensteen, who coached Welbeck during his spell as United first-team coach under Sir Alex Ferguson
"He can fit into the Arsenal philosophy. He’s very good technically and has shown that playing for his country. He’s quick, he can cover the ground and that’s a nice contrast to Olivier Giroud. They could actually play together."
— Former Gunners striker Alan Smith
'United have lost their way'
Manchester United have been renowned in the past for their production line of world-class talent such as David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.
But, with splashing the cash on Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao and offloading homegrown talent Danny Welbeck to Premier League rivals Arsenal, the club have lost their identity.
Former United assistant manager Mike Phelan, Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man at Old Trafford between 2008 and 2013, has hit out at the club's lack of faith in their famed youth system.
"Interesting how things have changed at Manchester United now. A good young kid (Welbeck) coming through part of the academy system - and they've finally decided now that might not be the way to go so they've moved him on," Phelan told BBC Radio yesterday.
"Obviously, there is more and more money now in the game, looking further and further afield for players, but probably they have lost the way of Manchester United a little bit in the fact that now rather than produce it may be the case where they're buying in.
"One of the issues of the Premier League at the moment, and with English football at the moment, is getting them on to the football field, promoting them that way and waiting for those opportunities, providing the time and that hasn't happened."
Phelan said United's spending spree - surpassing £150 million ($311m) with a British transfer record of £59.7m paid for di Maria - reflected a philosophy of wanting instant success under Louis van Gaal after the former champions stagnated under Ferguson's successor David Moyes.
"It's success now, and not later," said Phelan.
"In Danny's case. He's had a good run at it, he's come through the system… there's other kids there now in the system who will hopefully get a chance but there's been a lot of cash splashed out in the transfer window and I'm sure that will only get worse."
Meanwhile, United had to work late into Monday night to finalise the signing of Falcao but eventually completed a season-long loan for the Colombian (above).
United will pay Monaco between £5m and £6m for Falcao and will cover his wages, although they insist reports they will pay the 28-year-old almost £350,000 a week are wide of the mark.
The delay on confirming a deal which had been in the pipeline all day sparked rumours Falcao had failed a medical on the serious knee injury which kept him out of the World Cup, but United insisted throughout that was not true.
"I am delighted Radamel has joined us on loan this season," said United manager van Gaal.
"He is one of the most prolific scorers in the game.
"His appearance-to-goal ratio speaks for itself and, when a player of this calibre becomes available, it is an opportunity not to be missed."
In his first interview as a United player, Falcao told MUTV that it was a dream come true for him to play in the Premier League and predicted a "great" season for the new-look Red Devils.
"It was a very long day. It was hard, difficult. We were waiting until the last minute, but I didn't lose my faith. Now I want to say thank you to God for this. I'm very happy," said the Colombian.
"We have very top players. I admire them. I want to meet them for the first time. I am sure that this season will be great for us."
Former United star Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Falcao's loan switch to the Red Devils as a "fantastic buy".
Ronaldo, speaking at a TAG Heuer event in Madrid on Monday, said: "He is very good player.
"United did very well. I don't think he is the wrong type of player. He is a top player so I don't think it is a wrong buy.
"He will be a fantastic buy. United have not started well, two points, so they need quality players and Falcao is a quality player." - Wire Services.