Early Doors

Can Danny Welbeck beat the curse of Arsenal's damned shirt?

Early Doors

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Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck

Arsenal's deadline day capture of Danny Welbeck for £16 million was one of the big surprises of the transfer window.

Almost immediately, Arsene Wenger's move was hailed by some as a canny bit of business: a hugely talented, still improving, established international star - and while he is a player labouring under accusations of inconsistency, the belief is that the nurturing he will receive under Wenger should help him make the leap from good to great.  

It turns out, however, that they might as well have flushed 3,200,000 five pound notes down the toilets at the Emirates for all the good he'll do them. Because they've made a catastrophic blunder by giving him the number 23 shirt:

Why? Because the last two men to wear the shirt were (gulp) Andrei Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner, as the Daily Mail pointed out in an article on Wednesday.

At the time of signing, Arshavin was seen as hugely talented, still improving, established international stars - and while he was labouring under accusations of inconsistency, the belief was that the nurturing he would receive under Wenger would help him make the leap from good to great.

Sound familiar?

And as for Bendtner, well...

Now it's important to add that it's not unknown for iconic shirt numbers to change their powers over the years.

But the signs don't look good: the best examples we can think of are how the Liverpool number nine jersey, once worn by Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler, ended up being given to Andy Carroll; while the Manchester United number seven shirt made famous by George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo was handed to, ahem, Michael Owen on his arrival at Old Trafford.

Such a travesty did Owen make of it that the number seven almost ended Antonio Valencia's career when he inherited it. He had a brilliant start at United while wearing number 25, struggled badly when being granted the famous '7' for a couple of seasons, and improved after voluntarily giving it up last summer and getting his nice 25 back.

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