Manchester United have been linked with a number of high profile transfers already this season, but it is the 2014 transfer of Danny Welbeck to Arsenal that will catch fans attention today, for all the wrong reasons.
Reports emerging suggest that the transfer of Danny Welbeck from Manchester United to Arsenal in the final hours of the 2014 transfer window only took place following a conversation Arsene Wenger had with none other than United legend and former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Welbeck’s departure from Old Trafford came as a shock to fans, with former players such as Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand all publically questioning the club and new manager Louis van Gaal’s decision at the time.
Having been at the club since he was nine, Welbeck was regarded as a key figure in the future of the squad. His £16 million pound move south to London and arch rivals Arsenal was something nobody expected.
Now it has emerged, and reported via Squawka, that Wenger had a telephone conversation with Ferguson and it was following a discussion about the England international that the Arsenal manager pushed ahead with the deadline deal.
It is reported that Ferguson, who developed Welbeck as a youngster and tipped him for greatness, told Wenger that he would be mad if he did not complete the transfer.
He explained that Welbeck only needed to be told something once on the training pitch and would follow instructions perfectly. He also commended the strikers energy, work rate and team ethic.
While Ferguson had a high regard for Welbeck and often picked him for big matches, current United boss Louis van Gaal appeared to have a differing view of the striker. The Dutchman insisted that he did not regret selling Welbeck because the striker was ‘more a substitute than a line-up player’.
At the time van Gaal stated:
“We let him go because of [Radamel] Falcao, but also to allow the youngsters to fit in. that is the policy. That is why I am here”
Van Gaal instead put his preference on Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
In hindsight, van Gaal’s comments appear extremely short sighted as van Persie departed in 2015 and Falcao was a complete bust at United. At the time of his transfer, Welbeck was only 23 and surely he ought to have been regarded as a younger member of the squad, someone who with 92 appearances and 20 goals for the Red Devils, would be key in helping bring on the youngsters that van Gaal referred to.
While everyone has moved on from the shock transfer back in September 2014, news that it was Sir Alex Ferguson who practically sealed the deal for the move will come as both a shock and a betrayal to the United faithful.
Though revered for his successes in charge, fans will rightly aggrieved out that he continues to pull strings from the shadows.