Danny Welbeck joins Arsenal: Welbeck joins growing British core among Arsenal squad - but it wasn't always this homely
Arsene Wenger can now select from seven home-grown talents after his latest purchase brought Welbeck in from Manchester United
Arsenal made a late yet successful bid to sign striker Danny Welbeck in a £16m deal, with the club hoping a move for a new frontman would appease those fans who spent the weekend venting their anger at the lack of options up front.
23-year-old Welbeck heads to the Gunners after failing to break into the Manchester United side as a first-team regular, having spent the last few years being shuffled between the left wing and striker roles and more often than not among the substitutes.
But while the move demonstrates Arsenal’s determination to challenge for the Premier League title, it also sees Arsene Wenger take on yet another home-grown talent – something that was nearly inconceivable not so long ago.
In fact, it was Wenger that selected the first 16-man squad in Premier League history that did not contain a single home-grown player when he named the side to face Crystal Palace in 2005. The likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Kolo Toure and Jens Lehmann were key figures to the last Arsenal side to win a trophy before last season’s FA Cup success, but a glimpse at the squad will demonstrate just how much it – and Wenger – has changed.
Arsenal were extremely proud to announce new long-term deals for the British core not so long ago. Led by England wing Theo Walcott, more and more names are being introduced to the first team squad, with the latest in Welbeck taking the number of British first-team regulars to seven.
Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere have also enjoyed a few years in the Arsenal first team, while Aaron Ramsey has flourished over the past year having become the Gunners most influential player – certainly in terms of the importance of his goals scored. Wenger also added Calum Chambers, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks to be set for a more prominent role in the team providing he can remain uninjured.
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The shift in player emphasis comes after Uefa announced that each Champions League team must have eight home-grown players among their squad – or otherwise leave the necessary allocated spaces in the 25-man squad free to total that number.
After initially struggling to meet Uefa’s home-grown quota, Arsenal now have no problem in meeting the regulation, which allows them to utilise the maximum squad limit in Europe. Wenger will hope that this could help the Gunners finally push past their tendency to crash out of the Champions League in the early knockout stages, and go one further than their 2006 final appearance where they suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat to Barcelona.
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