Danny Welbeck has suggested that he was forced to leave Manchester United for Arsenal because of the amount of times he was asked to play on the wing.
The striker was allowed to swap Old Trafford for the Emirates Stadium on transfer deadline day this summer in a controversial £16 million deal. Louis van Gaal claimed he allowed Welbeck to leave because he was not up to the required standard.
However, Welbeck himself was also ready to quit his boyhood club as he was tired of being played out of position. The arrival of Robin van Persie in 2012 effectively shunted Welbeck out onto the wing for the foreseeable future.
Once Radamel Falcao arrived on transfer deadline day it was clear Welbeck was not part of Van Gaal's plans. However, once it became clear Van Persie would be first choice striker, Welbeck started to consider an exit.
“At the time I was playing on the left wing a lot and in a 4–4-2, which is very difficult for me because I can’t make an impact on the game"
Speaking on the eve of his first reunion with the Red Devils, Welbeck says a transfer was necessary if he was to reach his potential.
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“When you’ve been somewhere for so long and then you’re going to start a new chapter in your career, you’ve got to think about it a lot. Over the past year or so, I started to think about what’s best for me,” Welbeck is quoted in The Mirror as saying.
“At the time I was playing on the left wing a lot and in a 4–4-2, which is very difficult for me because I can’t make an impact on the game. I can play it to the best of my ability but that’s not best for the team, and I could make a bigger impact playing in my preferred position.
“You start to have thoughts but at that time you’re still going to training and I was still giving 100 per cent and giving my all in every single game – that’s just me, I’m not going to change that. But you do start to think about what’s best for you.”
Proving Van Gaal wrong
Since signing a five-year deal worth £115,000-a-week with the Gunners, Welbeck, who celebrates his 24th birthday next week, has begun to prove his credentials as a striker.
He has scored five goals in 12 appearances for Arsenal as well as five in six for England. That good form has helped him settle into his new surroundings quickly.
“It’s a bit different in London, because obviously I was born and bred in Manchester so that’s a place I know like the back of my hand. I went to school there and you really get to know the city. Manchester is much smaller so you do know a lot of people in the vicinity,” he added.
“There were a lot of people in Manchester that I was connected to so it is a bit different coming to London and not knowing as many people"
“Growing up there, we played lots of different schools and you’d see people you knew in town all the time.
“I used to get two buses to school and you’d see more or less everyone in the city centre, so I kind of knew everyone around my age group.
“There were a lot of people in Manchester that I was connected to so it is a bit different coming to London and not knowing as many people.
“But it’s going well. Arsenal is the place for me to advance my career and take me to the next level.”