Manchester United Angry over Criticism of Louis van Gaal for Danny Welbeck Sale

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2014

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Assistant Ryan Giggs of Manchester United and Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor on August 30, 2014 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Manchester United have hit back at criticism of new boss Louis van Gaal concerning the club's transfer policy after youth-team graduate Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal.

The club has reportedly insisted that it is still dedicated to the longtime tradition at Old Trafford of promoting youth, despite spending £150 million in the summer transfer window in an attempt to bolster the squad, per David McDonnell in the Daily Mirror:

United are adamant Van Gaal will continue to give youth a chance - and cited the promotion of young striker James Wilson as proof of their commitment to that.

[...] Senior United figures are angry at the perception their huge investment in the squad this summer means they have abandoned the commitment to youth that began with the Busby Babes and continued under Ferguson with the Class of ‘92.

Along with deadline-day deals for Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind, United broke the British transfer record to bring in Angel Di Maria for £59.7 million as well as signing Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Danny Welbeck of Manchester United evades Jonas Olsson of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on March 8, 2014 in West Bromwi
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

After the departure of Welbeck to Premier League rivals Arsenal for £16 million, former Red Devils assistant manager Mike Phelan expressed his opinion that it marked the end of the tradition of developing homegrown talent, per Gary Rose on BBC Sport:

They have probably lost the way of Manchester United a little bit. Now, rather than produce, it may be the case where they are buying in. Someone like a Danny Welbeck has been part of United's identity and that has been broken. What will happen in the future now, nobody knows but that thread has been broken now.

United defender Phil Jones was also sad to see Welbeck leave the club, per Ben Burrows in the Daily Mirror:

He’s been a big player for Man United. I’m sorry to see him go, but I wish him all the best. 

He’s a good friend and a great player as well. He will be a great addition to the Arsenal team.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Angel Di Maria of Manchester United shows his emotions 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 Imag
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

While the Manchester outfit's huge outlay on transfers this summer certainly seems to be a departure from past policy, it is likely necessary after they finished seventh in the Premier League last season.

Furthermore, it is not necessarily completely different from the way things were run in the Sir Alex Ferguson era prior to his retirement in 2013, per football writer Nooruddean Choudry:

Indeed, in the early 2000s, United broke the British transfer record twice, first with the £28.1 million signing of Juan Sebastian Veron and then paying £29.1 million for Rio Ferdinand, per the Daily Telegraph.

Equally, Van Gaal has already shown his willingness to play homegrown youth talent at United, having started Tyler Blackett in all three Premier League games so far this season.

Under David Moyes last term, United were nothing short of shambolic at times and finished four places lower than they had ever done previously in the Premier League, as well as missing out on Champions League football.

A major upheaval was necessary, and Van Gaal was always going to have to spend big to attract the necessary talent to turn things around.

Thus far in 2014-15 things have yet to improve—United have dropped seven points from their first three top-flight matches.

However, it is likely going to be a long process to get the 20-time English league champions back to the top of the pile, and the club is insistent it will continue to promote homegrown youth as part of that.