Welbeck sold to Arsenal despite Falcao’s knee injury

Van Gaal hopes Colombian striker will ultimately make the grade at Manchester United

Danny Welbeck warned that he may have to move to the flank if he is to be a starter at Arsenal. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty

Danny Welbeck warned that he may have to move to the flank if he is to be a starter at Arsenal. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty

 

Louis van Gaal has said that Danny Welbeck was sold to Arsenal despite doubts over the ability of Radamel Falcao, his replacement at Manchester United, to make a full recovery from the serious knee injury he suffered in January.

The concerns led United to take Falcao on loan from Monaco rather than buy him as Welbeck joined Arsene Wenger’s side for €20 million – the same cost of the Colombian’s loan and wages for this season.

While Welbeck is enjoying a fine campaign, having scored 10 goals for Arsenal and England playing in his preferred centre-forward position, Falcao’s start to his United career has featured disappointing form hampered by injury.

The striker has scored once and was dropped by Van Gaal for the 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion before suffering the calf problem in training which will rule him out until early next month.

Despite this, Van Gaal hopes Falcao will ultimately make the decision to bring him to Old Trafford pay off. “I hope so. That is clear, I think.”

No regrets

“For him I have already explained, it was a very good decision because as a line-up player [a starter for Arsenal] he develops himself much more.

“And if it was the right decision for Manchester United, it’s dependent on how we play and we score and in what position we shall finish in the league,” said the manager.

With Falcao, 28, Wayne Rooney, 29, and Robin van Persie 31, some argue that to allow the 23-year-old Welbeck to leave was short-term thinking. Van Gaal, though, pointed to James Wilson, who is 18.

“Wilson is a very good striker. He has to compete with these guys and it’s always difficult but when he wins this battle then he is a line-up player,” he said.

“It is too easy to say something. You are saying for weeks and weeks that we have a bad defence. Have you seen the goal average for Arsenal and the goal average for United? That you have to see and then you know the answer.”

Pressed

With Van Gaal now favouring a lone forward system he warned that Falcao faces a fight to regain a starting berth when fit again. “I have explained to my players, it’s not only a question of fitness but also you have to train with the group.

“Then you have to be better than the players who are on the list. I’ve said that before. Until now he didn’t train with the group so it’s out of the question for him to be on the bench.

“I don’t give any chance to players when they are not fit. Believe me, see my record. See the Dutch team, see all my expressions about fitness, you have to be fit. What’s your name? It doesn’t matter, you have to be fit”, he said.

Meanwhile, Wenger has warned Welbeck he may have to move to the flank if he wants to remain an Arsenal starter.

The manager has Olivier Giroud available as a substitute for today’s visit of United and the competition for the striker‘s role is set to intensify.

“One of the main reasons [for Welbeck signing] was that he wanted to play. It was not a condition [to play as a central striker], it was just that he plays. Ronaldo played all his life on the flanks. I don‘t think that will stop Welbeck. What is a problem for him is to play.”

Guardian Service

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