With Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck having bagged a double in a man-of-the-match performance for England against Slovenia in their fourth Euro 2016 qualifier, were Manchester United right to let him go this summer?
The 23-year-old has taken his England tally to 13 goals in 31 games after his impressive showing against Slovenia. It caps what has been a good start to the season for club and country for Welbeck, with the former United academy player having scored five goals in 12 games in all competitions for Arsenal.
His deadline day sale to the Gunners came as a surprise given the promise he’d shown in his many years at Manchester United, but manager Louis Van Gaal revealed his inferior goal tally – compared to that of United’s other strikers Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao – was the reason for his sale.
His seemingly large £16M transfer fee was questioned too when compared to Daniel Sturridge’s £12M move to Liverpool in January 2013, but performances would always speak for themselves when Welbeck put on an Arsenal shirt.
The England and Arsenal striker offers a different attacking threat to the Gunners’ first-choice Olivier Giroud, as he boasts more pace than the majority of Premier League stars, while possession great movement off the ball to drag opposition defenders out of position. Welbeck’s versatility also sees him drifting into wide areas to collect the ball, which opens up space for teammates to fill.
His great link-up play also means Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could well see a strike partnership develop when Olivier Giroud is back into the first-team. Such qualities were on did play against Slovenia, with Welbeck, teammate Jack Wilshere, and Wayne Rooney enjoying some quick exchanges in attack.
Being only 23 years old would also mean he has many more years still to develop, and a 10+ year career still ahead of him. Welbeck has made more than 30 caps for England, and 190 appearances at club level in all competitions.
Manchester United supporters were divided after the sale of Welbeck, as the young striker had certainly shown more than enough promise to believe he could be a mainstay with the Red Devils, while many felt he wasn’t good enough to be a United calibre player.
This season, the 23-year-old has already bagged a Champions League hat-trick for his new side, and has relished being the focal point of their attack. For England, he continues to perform and ripple the back of the net, boasting an impressive 1 goal every 2.4 games at international level.
So will Manchester United regret letting him go?