Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s decision to let go of Danny Welbeck in the summer transfer window was strongly criticised by many former footballers and pundits.
The Dutchman claimed that the England international striker had failed to prove himself as a regular goalscorer, but his critics pointed out that Welbeck had been largely played out on position on the wide during his time at Old Trafford.
To the critics, the departure of Welbeck from United on transfer deadline day marked ‘the end of an era’ and proved ‘the change in mentality’ of the club.
The 23-year-old had developed at United’s youth academy, but the club’s decision to sign top-class attacking players (such as Radamel Falcao) and not give him a chance affirmed that the Manchester outfit were now only interested in ‘buying success’ - just like the rest of the European giants.
Those critics conveniently forgot to ask some basic questions about Welbeck. Why wasn’t he given a chance to play regularly as a centre-forward in the first place? He played under Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Van Gaal, but couldn't convince them that he could spearhead the attack - why?
Van Gaal’s critics also forgot that Welbeck was 21 two years ago and United signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal. If the Englishman was really that good, why bother spending £24 million on a striker who was just one year shy of 30?
As if attacking Van Gaal for his Welbeck decision wasn’t enough, the 63-year-old’s critics have pointed out time and time again that he should have signed a central defender.
The departure of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the summer (in case anyone forgot: those decisions were made before Van Gaal was appointed the manager) left a huge hole at the back.
Indeed, Van Gaal needed to have signed a world-class centre-back, which he did not. Instead, he looked towards United’s youth team for players to fill those positions. 20-year-old Tyler Blackett seems to be a player Van Gaal highly rates, while Patrick McNair made his debut on Saturday at the age of 19.
For some reason, the same critics who claim that Van Gaal should have retained faith in United’s academy product Welbeck ignore his trust in youngsters such as Blackett and McNair.
There’s just no pleasing some critics, is there?