Manchester Utd Could End Up Regretting Allowing Danny Welbeck to Join Arsenal

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentSeptember 2, 2014

England's Danny Welbeck points during a training session at London Colney, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. England will play Norway in an international friendly soccer match at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Some Manchester United fans will have found it difficult to mourn the loss of Danny Welbeck on the same day Radamel Falcao arrived.

For some supporters, it seemed similar to dropping the keys to your Nissan Micra down the drain moments before being presented with a brand new Ferrari.

Welbeck still splits opinion. There are those who admire his pace and work rate—firm believers who think that, given a run as a central striker, his strike rate would improve.

In the opposite corner are his detractors. The ones who point to his inconsistent finishing and goals-to-games ratio and insist he's not good enough to play for United.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Danny Welbeck of Manchester United attempts to control the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at Stadium of Light on August 24, 2014 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Mi
Michael Regan/Getty Images

There are elements of truth in both points of view. But it could still turn out to be a mistake to let the England striker join Arsenal.

It's not that Welbeck's move to the Emirates, and Falcao's move to Old Trafford, marks a change of direction for United. 

That Welbeck, a Manchester-born academy graduate, left on the same day Falcao, an expensive foreign import, arrived was just a coincidence. 

Players who progress from the youth team don't have a pre-determined right to stay at the club. They have to earn their place. 

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor on August 30, 2014 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manager Louis van Gaal took the time to assess his squad and decided he can do without Welbeck. That's his choice, and one that should be respected. 

His CV demands that he is given the benefit of the doubt. He's made a career out of judging the talents of young players, and Welbeck, evidently, didn't meet his high standards.

But that doesn't mean it's not a mistake to let him move to Arsenal.

It seems strange that Van Gaal would give Welbeck the opportunity to score the goals that could yet deny United a place in the top four.

It might only be one goal that secures one point. But there's still a chance it could happen. And it seems like a big risk.

Some United fans might not rate Welbeck. But he hasn't been so poor at Old Trafford that it's certain he'll fail at the Emirates.

Jose Juarez/Associated Press

His 29 goals in 142 games for United isn't prolific. But he hasn't had many chances to play as a striker. He should get those opportunities at Arsenal while Olivier Giroud recovers from injury.

He might get a run in the team as a centre-forward and prove, once and for all, that he's not a confident finisher. But there's also a chance he'll show that he can score goals regularly.

And that would make United's task of getting into the top four all the more difficult.

United might not be any weaker for losing Welbeck. After all, their new No. 9 is Falcao. But Arsenal are certainly stronger for having him in their ranks. 

It was a risk to hand him over to Arsene Wenger. And he might yet make Van Gaal regret it.