Danny Welbeck deserved Manchester United stay ahead of Robin Van Persie

Welbeck got his first hat-trick in a senior competitive match last night (©GettyImages)

Manchester United have dropped a transfer clanger by choosing Robin van Persie over Danny Welbeck and never truly giving the England international a chance at centre-forward, according to Evening Standard columnist Patrick Barclay.

Welbeck was allowed to join familiar Premier League foes Arsenal in a £16m deadline-day deal, despite being on United's books since the age of eight.

Barclay believes United's loss is very much United's gain and thinks United's decision to stick with a 31-year-old in Van Persie, who earns a whopping £250,000-a-week, shows the kind of short-term values in terms of player development that have never previously been present at Old Trafford.

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United fans have every right to be furious

Following Welbeck's first senior hat-trick in Arsenal's 4-1 Champions League win over Galatasaray last night the Scottish sportswriter insisted: "Louis van Gaal would have been better off selling Robin van Persie than Welbeck, for the former Arsenal striker, though of very high and proven class, is 31 and the current one not yet 24.

"All Welbeck ever needed was to be played regularly at centre-forward. The tediously familiar reservation about his record as a finisher would then evaporate.

"Welbeck is a team player by nature. His attitude is exemplary and that is why I was amazed that Van Gaal, who so splendidly profited from the professionalism of Dirk Kuyt at the World Cup, made the decision he did.

"At any rate, Arsenal reaped the benefit and so did Welbeck. Mr Nice Guy can become a star."

Wenger the man to harness Welbeck's raw potential

There's no question that Wenger is currently affording Welbeck a platform he never truly got at Old Trafford, the chance to lead the line at centre-forward and have a top team depend on his goals week-in, week-out.

United fans will have found it tough to watch Welbeck flourish over the last few weeks, already scoring four goals in five matches for the Gunners in all competitions thanks largely to that clinical treble against Galatasaray.

Welbeck has stepped straight in at Arsenal to prove an able deputy for the injured Olivier Giroud, showing no signs that Van Gaal's decision to go with proven quality in Van Persie and Radamel Falcao has knocked his confidence in the slightest.

Wenger now has a forward line with pace to burn in Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and when he returns Theo Walcott, but he'll expect the Red Devils outcast to now start delivering strong performances consistently after seeing his true talent on Wednesday night.

Sunday's Premier League showdown with leaders Chelsea provides the perfect opportunity for Welbeck to once again show Van Gaal what he's missing, a man in form who could finally help the Gunners render their Stamford Bridge nightmares a thing of the past at his very best.

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