It always seemed like a bit of a strange decision for Louis van Gaal to sell Danny Welbeck to a direct rival over the summer. Manchester United were clearing the decks for superstar arrivals but the Manchester born lad was a popular player amongst his team mates and fans alike.
The one area of his game which lead some to believe that The Dutchman had made the right choice was his fairly poor goals to games ratio – about 1 in 5 before he joined Arsenal.
Welbeck had many virtues but a natural goalscoring instinct didn’t appear to be one of them.
But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was clearly convinced and Welbeck’s hat-trick in The Champions League on Wednesday night – his first for any club – perhaps illustrated that he may be able to add that quality to his game.
Comparisons, if premature and hyperbolic, are already being drawn between Welbeck and one of the Arsenal greats – namely Thierry Henry.
When Henry joined Arsenal he was a misunderstood winger of 21 who hadn’t even begun to reach his potential.
Wenger moved him inside and drew that killer instinct out of him. The rest is history. It is hoped, particularly by the Arsenal faithful, that the same can be done for Welbeck. He does have some similar qualities – he’s quick, powerful and has a silky touch.
And, while it is still early days for Welbeck at Arsenal, the portents are very good indeed. Manchester United and Arsenal fans alike will continue to wonder whether Van Gaal has made a mistake. But only time will tell.
For now it’s just great to see the England man happy and scoring goals from his preferred position at number 9.