Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Alan Smith backs striker to fire
Loss of youth team graduate will 'upset' Manchester United fans, says Sky Sports pundit
Last Updated: 02/09/14 12:28pm
Alan Smith says a lot of Manchester United fans will be upset to see Danny Welbeck move to Arsenal.
The England striker is a graduate of the Old Trafford youth academy and has played 90 times for the club after making his debut under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2008, but an agreement was reached to sell him to their Premier League rivals on Deadline Day for an undisclosed fee.
Welbeck has only scored 20 goals in his Manchester United career to date, but former Arsenal striker Smith says it is a great signing for Arsene Wenger because his best years are still ahead of him.
“It’s good news for the player first and foremost and good news for Arsenal,” he told Sky Sports News HQ.
“To be fair, I think Arsenal is the only club that Danny wanted to go to and United weren’t all that keen to sell him to a rival, which you can understand. Maybe he stood his ground and they had a change of heart at United.
“I think it’s important that it’s a permanent deal because he’s still only young and he’s got his best years to come, I’m convinced of that.
“Perhaps with Falcao coming in, Manchester United are confident of selling, but I know a lot of Manchester United fans are upset.
“That’s not because they’re particularly sorry to see the player go or the talent that they’re losing, but because he’s a Sir Alex Ferguson player who came through the ranks and encapsulated everything that was good about Manchester United.
“I think they are upset about that.”
The news emerged on Monday, despite Wenger’s earlier suggestions that he would not be signing a striker to cover for the injured Olivier Giroud.
And Sky Sports pundit Smith says Welbeck has the attributes to become a regular in an Arsenal shirt either as a replacement or a partner for the Frenchman.
“I think he would appeal to Arsene Wenger and fit into the Arsenal philosophy,” he added.
“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.
“So much depends on confidence. I think he has lacked that over the last few years. He has come in for criticism and his finishing hasn’t been the best.
“If he gets a couple of goals in a team where he doesn’t think ‘I’ve got to score today in order to stay in the team the following week,’, which was perhaps the case at Manchester United, then he can relax a little bit and his finishing will improve.”