Despite popular opinion, United were clear winners here.
The popular opinion on one of the big talking points of the summer transfer window is that Manchester United were wrong to sell Danny Welbeck to Arsenal in their £16m deadline day deal.
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Aside from the fact that they were letting a first-teamer go to a rival club – always a risky move – what exactly have they lost from the deal? When you look at the arguments put out by most pundits, it almost always relates to him being ‘a homegrown player’, as though these are somehow superior to all others.
Had United sold an under-performing French forward to, let’s say, Wolfsburg for as much as £16m, we wouldn’t be hearing a thing about it even a day after the deal had been done, never mind it still coming up as late as November.
That is, unless, this young Frenchman had gone on to score a bucket load of goals for his new club to prove that the Red Devils should have shown more patience with him. Welbeck, of course, has not done this with Arsenal by any stretch of the imagination.
The 23-year-old’s displays for England have distorted the view that he has been a successful signing. If you take away his hat-trick against an absolutely woeful Galatasaray side, the Gunners new-boy has only scored two goals in eleven appearances for the club so far this season, all this whilst playing in his preferred central striker role that was supposed to be the major reason behind his failure at Old Trafford.
Sure, Welbeck may have suffered a little setback playing out wide for the Red Devils, but so far we are yet to see any convincing argument that he should be a regular upfront for a top side. With Olivier Giroud set to return from injury, it seems unlikely that Welbeck will keep his place.
Another reason people seem to be slating United for letting Welbeck go is the performances of their own strikers this season. Welbeck’s big-name replacement Radamel Falcao is yet to deliver, while Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are perhaps both past their very best.
And yet, this is really no reason to miss Welbeck. After all, if these players need replacing, why is he automatically the player to do it? And isn’t it somewhat harsh to judge Falcao already, with the Colombian fighting numorous injury niggles as he looks to settle into a new team and a new league? Considering his immense goalscoring record elsewhere, with figures Welbeck can only dream of, it’s definitely worth giving him time.
With this country’s almost unconditional love of English players, selling ‘one of their own’ in Welbeck for a more glamorous big-money foreign star in Falcao was an extremely unfashionable move, but nothing more. Over time, United are going to be shown as the winners in this deal.