New Arsenal signing Welbeck told he'd be fifth choice at United - behind 18-year-old prodigy

Old Trafford 3

Arsenal completed a shock move for Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck this week - and he left because he'd have been fifth choice at Old Trafford.

One of the biggest surprises of transfer deadline day saw Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck leave Old Trafford in order to join Premier League rivals Arsenal. The Gunners were desperate to sign a new striker after Olivier Giroud was ruled out until the start of 2015 with a broken ankle, and whilst it initially looked like a loan deal would be struck, Arsene Wenger's men forked out £16m to sign the England international on a permanent deal.

The 23-year-old scored 29 goals in 142 games for the Red Devils, but was often forced to play out wide rather than up front, and is now expected to be giving the chance to play as a centre forward at the Emirates Stadium in Giroud's lengthy absence.

Welbeck's move came shortly before United confirmed the arrival of Colombian striker Radamel Falcao from Monaco, with the 28-year-old set to join Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in vying for a place in Louis van Gaal's starting XI. It was widely believed that Welbeck would therefore have been fourth choice given that Javier Hernandez was sent out on loan to Real Madrid, but that appears to be incorrect.

According to The Times, Welbeck decided to swap the red of United for the red of Arsenal after van Gaal told him that he would actually only be fifth choice at Old Trafford. Rooney, van Persie and Falcao make up the first three, but who else would've been ahead of Welbeck?

The report suggests that van Gaal told Welbeck that 18-year-old striker James Wilson would be ahead of him in the pecking order - which is a huge shock, even with Wilson's impressive end to last season, which saw him score twice against Hull City on his first start for the club.

Van Gaal has a history of promoting players through the youth at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Just some of the names that van Gaal gave a chance to include Michael Reiziger, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Marc Overmars, Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Thomas Muller, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber, and now Wilson could be the next name on the list.

It's therefore little surprise to see that Welbeck left Old Trafford. Having done little wrong during his time at the club, being demoted in favour of an 18-year-old is a tough pill to swallow - but now we will all be watching to see how big of a role Wilson will play this season.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch