Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: The striker was Manchester United through-and-through

Louis van Gaal allowed one of the most promising academy products to depart last night
  • @simonrice

It is rare that players are sold between rivals which is why Manchester United's willingness to sell Danny Welbeck to Arsenal was a surprise.

But not only has Louis van Gaal let an established England international, who at 23 still has huge potential, leave the club - he has also let one of the players most devoted to the cause depart.

Whilst the motivation for some is questionable - only yesterday Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti suggested Angel Di Maria had moved to Old Trafford for the money - for Welbeck there is no escaping his love for Manchester United.

"I'm a local lad and a fan myself, not just a player in the team," he told Manchester United's matchday programme earlier this year.

"It hurts a lot when I see that United aren't doing as well as we know we can. I feel that extra passion inside me and I want to do everything I can for my team, my team-mates and the club I support because United means so much."


It is unsurprising Welbeck feels that way.

The striker, from parents who emigrated from Ghana, had trials with Manchester City but it didn't work out .

He explained in an interview with the Guardian: "Just before Christmas they told my dad: 'He's not good enough.' My dad didn't want to tell me because it was Christmas, so I was oblivious to the situation because dad just said there was going to be a break.

"I went for a tournament a week later, back with my local side, and that's where United saw me and I've never looked back."

Welbeck went from kicking balls around in Markfield Avenue, the same street in the district of Longsight where Wes Brown grew up, into the fabled Manchester United academy system which gave him the opportunity to work with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

"I grew up idolising the class of 1992; the guys I came through the ranks with took great inspiration from them. To suddenly be there sharing a pitch and a dressing room with some of them is incredible," he once said.

Following his £16m switch, Welbeck will now be working with a new set of players - Arsenal will just hope he can convert some of that passion to his new club.