Belfast Telegraph

Wenger cryptic on Welbeck signing

Danny Welbeck would not be an Arsenal player now if manager Arsene Wenger had been in London on transfer deadline day, the Frenchman has said.

The England striker signed for Arsenal from Manchester United in a £16million deal on the final day of the window, while Wenger was in Rome for a charity game.

Wenger said on Thursday that his initial preference had been to sign the player on loan and added: "If I had not travelled that day, Welbeck would not be here. I will explain that a bit later, but if I stayed at home, Welbeck would not be here today."

He cryptically added: "I will tell you that story one day - but that is the truth."

Welbeck was using Arsenal's training base at London Colney in the build-up to England's friendly against Norway on deadline day, September 1.

It is reported that during that time Gunners duo Mikel Arteta and captain Per Mertesacker learned of the 23-year-old's availability, with Tottenham the most likely destination, and so urged the Arsenal hierarchy to make their own move.

A permanent transfer was signed off while Wenger was in Rome for the 'Match for Peace' and when asked by Press Association Sport whether he would have preferred a loan deal for Welbeck, Wenger said: "With an option to buy, yes.

"When it was a permanent transfer, or loan with an option to buy, I was happy to take a permanent transfer.

"At the start of the day the player was only available on loan, but after he became available to buy, I agreed."

Wenger's comments made it unclear to say the least whether he had been in favour of the permanent acquisition of Welbeck.

His exit from Old Trafford was prompted by their deadline-day signing of Radamel Falcao from Monaco, initially on loan.

Wenger added: "I thought when (United) bought Falcao they had to let somebody go and I was not aware at the start (of the day) when I heard that he could be available.

"It was quick because it was on the last day of the transfer window and I had no hesitation to do it."

Whatever his thoughts on the deal struck, Welbeck is very much part of Wenger's plans and the Frenchman is convinced the United academy graduate can go on to be a key player within the squad.

"He can first of all make himself a better player because I can help him," said Wenger.

"Danny is a young boy, not 24 yet and let's not forget that some players who arrived here at the age of 23 made huge careers here, so I hope we can contribute and help him."

Meanwhile, midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be assessed after turning his ankle during Wales' win in Andorra - but Wenger hopes any absence will be short-term.

''The first news is not bad,'' said the Arsenal boss.

''He will be assessed (on Thurs day), he has a little chance to be available for Saturday. He had an ankle sprain, it is a minor one, that is for sure."

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