So even though the ghost of Danny Welbeck came back to haunt Old Trafford on Monday night, Manchester United were still right to let the player go. A simple misplaced pass by Antonio Valencia allowed the now Gunner to put the ball past goalkeeper David De Gea and as fate would have it, his goal is what has knocked United out of the FA Cup; the Red Devils’ last chance at silverware this term. It was a fairytale ending for Welbeck that night but as United and Arsenal both know, the England international is rarely a match winner!
He was well within his right to celebrate. He is a Gooner now and must focus on winning over the Arsenal faithful. Honestly the only contentious point clouding Welbeck’s departure was the price he left for. No, he was no legend at the club and although he didn’t fit the new-look United, not scoring enough goals for Louis van Gaal to keep him does not change the fact that he was still a promising young centre forward with experience at the highest levels. A paltry £16 million was akin to just giving him to one of our biggest rivals for free.
Welbeck has scored four times in the Premier League for Arsenal and though Arsene Wenger looks highly likely to have orchestrated another great escape this season with ten games to go and sitting pretty in third, it has not been down to any of Welbeck’s brilliance. Alexis Sanchez is the Gunners’ top scorer with 13 goals to his name and it is his eye for goal, not Welbeck’s which will surely see them play once more in the Champion’s League for the 18th consecutive season.
It is still a shame that a player who started his United career at the tender age of eight is now wearing the red shirt of Arsenal but like many of the players that Red Devils boss van Gaal cut loose last summer, Welbeck just didn’t fit the bill. Others will follow come the next window as LVG attempts to bring glory back to Old Trafford once again.
Following his departure, Manchester United have brought in Colombian Radamel Falcao on a year-long loan deal to take over his role up front. Falcao has obviously struggled and his time may also be permanently coming to an end so there is likely to be yet another incoming next season to produce the goals that both himself and ageing Robin van Persie have failed to provide. Only then once United have an in-form striker will Welbeck’s weaknesses be fully highlighted.
Over the last seven months with Arsenal, Welbeck has had his good days and his bad ones. Monday night is sure to rank quite highly on that list but in a season where others like Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, on ten goals, have completely overshadowed him, he’ll need to up his game or risk becoming surplus to requirements like poor Javier Hernandez is at Real Madrid.
A striker will always be judged for how lethal he is in front of goal and Welbeck is not yet a player that strikes fear into defenders.