Keeping Danny Welbeck would have killed Manchester United

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Keeping Danny Welbeck would have killed Manchester United, that was the response to the young striker's move to Premier League rivals Arsenal from one former Red Devils star.

Keith Gillespie believes the offloading of the likes of Welbeck, Nani, and Tom Cleverley was the only way Louis van Gaal was going to compete with their rivals in the Premier League and get back into the Champions League places.

Crisis has set in

A seventh place finish last season in the Premier League saw David Moyes, Sir Alex Ferguson's chosen successor, shown the door, but his dismissal appears to have not been nearly enough to get the team back to winning ways.

Van Gaal has yet to secure a competitive win this season, getting only two points from his first three league games, not to mention a humiliating 4-0 defeat at MK Dons in the League Cup, and it was plain to see that new arrivals were needed.

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Big money additions

Radamel Falcao, Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind were all added by Manchester United this summer, with the Colombian striker's last-minute deadline day move the big story of the climax to the summer dealings.

However, his arrival on a season-long loan from AS Monaco meant Welbeck was surplus to requirements and told he could leave. Arsenal were the most prominent side interested in his signature and, in a transfer that similarly late and dramatic as Falcao's, he moved to the Emirates Stadium for £16million.

Many Manchester United fans lamented the departure of a first team player who had been at the club since he was eight to a rival, including former Ferguson assistant Mike Phelan, who claimed that the Old Trafford club's identity was "broken".

Not a consensus

However, Gillespie disagreed and insisted it was the only way United were going to get back on terms with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in the next season or two.

"The question for Mike Phelan is if he had an option of Welbeck or Falcao in his team, who would he choose?" he said on Twitter.

"In all honesty the players LVG has moved on would have been my choice to. Welbeck Nani and Cleverley never saw as United players.

"Drastic action was needed. Pursuing the path United was on was death by a 1000 cuts. Quality of competing clubs was way better. We're back.

"The United philosophy should be to compete and succeed at the highest level. It wasn't working, but I believe it will now. Change had to come.

"The Reality is United have to have the best players available to compete, any youth system might assist in that quest but cannot be relied upon."

Writing was on the wall

With Falcao, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney all ahead of him in the pecking order to play up front, Welbeck's chances of playing were severely limited and moving on was probably the only way he was going to get an opportunity to play as a centre-forward - something he had not done a great deal of since breaking into the first team under Ferguson.

Arsenal were in need of a more competent striker after a broken leg ruled first choice Olivier Giroud out into next year, as understudy Yaya Sanogo has so far failed to impress and new signing Alexis Sanchez needs time to acclimatise to the Premier League and the new position.

Signing Welbeck made good sense for Arsenal; he is used to playing at the top level in the Premier League and Champions League, he is a regular England international, his price tag was not as inflated as one may have expected to for a young English player and he has something to prove.

Gillespie, who was also a graduate of Manchester United's academy, is famous for being a makeweight in the deal that took Andy Cole from Newcastle United to Old Trafford.

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Manchester United
Danny Welbeck
Premier League

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