Earlier this summer, Danny Welbeck was linked with a move to Hull City. If true, it was an audacious attempt from Steve Bruce to bring in the England international who has talent in abundance – even if he does not always channel it as effectively as he could.
But it appears Welbeck will not be heading to the Tigers, with the latest reports claiming the 23-year-old is too pricey and Bruce will instead move for Vincent Aboubakar for around £9million.
So what now for Welbeck, who was tipped to leave the club last season after reportedly growing frustrated under David Moyes, but who could now seek a fresh start under Louis van Gaal?
With the Dutchman set to play two up front the chances should be there – in due course – for Welbeck; a player who is a far more effective finisher than many give him credit for. And when you consider that United have also been tipped to sell Javier Hernandez, surely there is space for Welbeck in van Gaal’s plans.
And yet there is an argument to be had that Hernandez will be kept, and that James Wilson and Will Keane will be given chances in the cup competitions. After all, without the demands of European football Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie could, in theory, start every league game this season, leaving United without the need for quite so many frontmen.
Wilson continues to impress for the under-21s and showed on his debut against Hull City last season that top-flight football does not faze him. While Keane is of the age where he must now replicate the form that once saw him hailed as United’s brightest young hope if he is to have a long-term role at the club.
When you consider all the factors, Welbeck could well feel that the time is right to move on, especially when van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation means he is unlikely to get many chances to play out wide, as he has so effectively in the past.