Danny Welbeck showed with his two goals for England against Switzerland that Arsenal may well have secured the best signing of the summer when they landed the Manchester United striker on deadline day.
The 23-year-old showed pace, intelligence and a clinical instinct in front of goal as he put the finishing touches to a fine display by Roy Hodgson’s men as they beat the Swiss 2-0 in Basel to take control of Euro 2016 qualifying Group E.
In what will probably be their toughest assignment in a ludicrously easy group that also contains the might of San Marino, Estonia, Slovenia and Lithuania, England produced a fine display that involved defensive solidity and thrilling counter-attacking play.
But while the likes of Joe Hart, Gary Cahill and Raheem Sterling all impressed, it was Welbeck’s brace that rightly grabbed all the headlines.
Welbeck’s display in Basel’s St Jakub Park suggested that Arsene Wenger had done a brilliant bit of business when he snapped up the striker for what already looks like a bargain £16million.
Welbeck was often criticised for a lack of goals when he was at Old Trafford – he managed 20 in 92 Premier League appearances for the club – but never managed to grab more than nine in a season.
However, he has shown in the past that he can turn it on for England and there were suggestions against Switzerland that he could still turn out to be a natural goalscorer, something the Gunners have lacked in recent seasons and which they desperately need now with Olivier Giroud injured.
In the past Welbeck has been the man for the big occasion, who can forget the inspired back-heeled goal at Euro 2012 when England beat Sweden 3-2, and he now has ten international goals to his name from just 28 international appearances.
That is quite a record and the £16million Arsenal have paid seems money well spent, especially considering some of the other summer purchases, such as Fulham’s £11million acquisition of Ross McCormack from Leeds United who is five years older than Welbeck and has never scored goals at the top level.
Liverpool paid Southampton £25million for Adam Lallana, who already seems to have drifted out of Hodgson’s plans, while Manchester United spent even more on Luke Shaw before almost immediately questioning his fitness levels.
Welbeck has fantastic pace which will suit Arsenal’s counter-attacking game well and his unselfish play will help to bring out the best in the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
Welbeck showed against Switzerland that he can certainly play the lone striker role well, something that he will get the chance to do more of at Arsenal and he will no longer have to play second fiddle to the likes of Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney as he did so often at Manchester United.
He is now the main man and could prove to be the player Arsenal need to sustain a title challenge this season.