Arsenal have bought a good player but not a great

When Danny Welbeck moved from Manchester United to Arsenal there was a great debate about who got the better value for money.

Selling a 23 year old England international to one of your direct rivals does seem a bit of a gamble and Arsenal have profited with some excellent performances from the young man.

The question is not whether Welbeck is a good player. Anyone who thinks otherwise surely hasn’t been watching football for that long.

The England man has scored goals and generally injected pace and dynamism into the Arsenal team. His work this also means that The Gunners are marginally more difficult to break down as Welbeck defends well from the front.

The real question is whether he will ever become a great player. And that was the question that Louis van Gaal must have asked himself when he considered the striker’s Manchester United exit.

Football is a ruthless industry but we think that Van Gaal was actually showing a genuine sense humanitarianism by selling Welbeck to Arsenal.

The Dutchman was charged with taking Manchester United back to the top and, to do so, he had to make some difficult decisions.

We think that he made the right decision in relation to Welbeck, despite Danny’s decent goal return for Arsenal so far.

Because, in Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and James Wilson Manchester United have strikers who can win games at the very top level. For all his qualities we remain unsure if Welbeck would score you a crucial goal out of nothing in a European Cup semi-final or a title decider.

Nor would Arsenal fans necessarily pick Welbeck in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper and that is an indictment of a centre forward at a top club.

Welbeck has a broad skill set but world-class finishing is probably not listed in there. Yet it is possibly the most important requirement of a centre forward – that’s why he was regularly shunted out wide at Manchester United and why the same could happen at Arsenal now Olivier Giroud is fit. For our money Giroud is comfortably a better finisher.

Manchester United let the player go for more first-team opportunities. He’s getting those Arsenal and thriving. But he still has an awfully long way to go to be regarded as a great.

Arsenal fans: bargain of the century or jack of all trades?

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