SEA View: Welbeck or Falcao – Short Term vs. Long Term


Welcome to a new feature on Stretford End Arising called SEA View. Throughout the season members of SEA’s writing team, moderators & forum users will share their thoughts on a topical discussion point. Today we discuss whether the club has made the right long term decision by bringing in Radamel Falcao and releasing Danny Welbeck. What are your thoughts? Share in the comments section below CLICK HERE.

Alan (moderator)

Have we made the right long-term decision by replacing Danny Welbeck, 23, with Radamel Falcao, 28? Yes, I believe we have. I’ll explain my reasons why but first I’d like to say that Welbeck is a fantastic footballer and for £16 million Arsenal have got a very good deal.

However, as good a player Welbeck is, I don’t believe he is good enough to be United’s number 9. Reason? His goal record. It’s a fair argument that he’s often been deployed out of position rather than being given a fair run through the middle but his stats of just 29 goals in 5 seasons simply isn’t good enough. Compare that with Wayne Rooney, himself having been played out of position on many occasions to accommodate others, who in his first 5 seasons had amassed 97 goals.

Although stats never tell the whole story, with Welbeck offering a lot up top with his link-up play and pace in behind stretching defences, they still tell enough in this case and are the reason we’ve moved for a proven goal scorer to replace him in the shape of Falcao.

I say it’s the right long term deal, and let me elaborate on that. This might sound strange but for us to get where we want in the long run, it’s very important we have short term success. By which I mean it’s hugely important we don’t miss out on the Champions League places again this season, not just from a financial point of view where, but also from a point of view of attracting the players we need. Two seasons without Champions League football would make it a lot harder to attract the players we need, regardless of how much of Adidas’ money we throw at them. Falcao might well just prove the difference this season, rather than punting on Welbeck to finally find his feet in front of goal.

Fans may be concerned of the age of our three main strikers – van Persie 31 and Rooney and Falcao both 28. The concern would be that we will live to regret letting Welbeck go in a couple of seasons when our forwards may be over the hill. However the future up front is safe. Step forward James Wilson. The carpet is slowly being rolled for Wilson to star for United, with the sale of Welbeck. As the trio ahead of him get older, his opportunities will increase. Unlike Welbeck, I’m confident that Wilson will take his opportunities – literally. Regardless of the age level I don’t think I’ve seen many better natural finishers than Wilson. Off both feet, he is exceptional. The signing of Falcao ensures goals in the short term and also allows the opportunity to slowly but surely release Wilson at the Premier League and, hopefully, Champions League defences. Until those opportunities arise, 3 of the world’s best number 9’s may go some way towards nurturing one of the world’s next best number 9’s.

Bob (moderator)

Short term v long term – what is the best for Manchester United? Unfortunately, a short term view is needed for the immediate future due to the predicament we find ourselves in. No Champions League football for a second consecutive season is unthinkable and based on what we’ve seen thus far a top four finish is not guaranteed, however I am hopeful that once players return from injury and new signings bed-in we’ll have enough quality within the team to finish fourth.

I highly rate Welbeck and firmly believe he will develop into a top forward, however he was unlikely to be a regular starter while Mata, van Persie, Rooney and Di Maria are at the club. He has been itching for a move away since last season if reports are to be believed, so his departure this summer was not a surprise. What is a surprise is his new club, given Arsenal are a direct rival for a top four spot, though I guess Welbeck was instrumental in the decision to join Arsenal.

Welbeck is an excellent signing for Arsenal. He will score 15-20 goals and thrive in Wenger’s system. The right move at the right time for Danny.

Jason (writer and moderator)

I have always been a big supporter of Danny Welbeck, his departure on deadline day left me feeling quite disappointed but I understood his reasons for wanting to leave. He’ll play regularly and in his favoured centre forward position at Arsenal. After the transfers we’d made in the summer and reports that he’d fallen behind 18 year old, James Wilson, a fellow academy graduate, in the pecking order, a move for Welbeck was in his best interests. I think Welbeck will do very well at Arsenal; he’s the type of striker that favours the way Arsenal play. His pace, movement and link up play is something Arsenal have lacked with Giroud in the side, Welbeck is perhaps not as good a goalscorer as Giroud right now although Welbeck has shown for both club and country that when played as a centre forward he can score goals; scoring 6 goals in 6 games last winter while Rooney and van Persie were injured and has scored regularly for England when played upfront.

Our squad at the beginning of the summer contained too many squad players and not enough top quality players, we’ve rectified that in the transfer market by letting a number of squad players leave while players who I believe will all be regular starters have been brought in. We needed players that would make a big contribution to getting us back to the top this season. In Falcao, we have brought in someone that will make a big contribution this season and get us back to the top which I don’t believe Welbeck would have made. Falcao has proven himself as one of the best goalscorers in Europe in recent seasons; he is absolutely deadly in the penalty area, great with both feet and his head. He might be here for just a few seasons but I think his contribution, this season in particular could be crucial in the long term where as missing out on the top 4 again could be costly in the long term.

Matthew (writer)

When I hear, read or think about Danny Welbeck being sold by Man Utd, I get a lump in my throat. A club that prides itself on producing, promoting and believing in its own ditching that for immediate success, or at least acting in the interests of returning to the concept of success. Sound eerily familiar to the strategy of a club not too far away from Old Trafford?

There is no argument that after a dismal start to the season, and the shambles that preceded it last year under David Moyes, the club needed to deliver in the transfer market, both in order to attempt to retain parity with the Premier League elite and to give the fans a boost.

The quality of Falcao can also not be doubted. The Colombian is a goal machine. Welbeck’s quality is more up for discussion. Yes he doesn’t get enough goals and lacks a predatory instinct, but he’s also played precious little of his United games as a striker.

Ultimately our purchases this summer excite me and Louis van Gaal and Ed Woodward have made inroads into fixing our major problems, but I can’t help thinking that, along with Welbz, a part of United’s very fabric may also be exiting Old Trafford.

David (writer)

Sentiment and emotions can often cloud judgment and there’s certainly no room for the former in football. Players come and go but clubs are ever-enduring and doing what’s right for the football club is always the most important thing.

Danny Welbeck was a local lad, an academy product and United through and through. His departure on the same day that Radamel Falcao arrived has certainly brought with it mixed emotions but in my opinion it was the right decision for the football club’s long-term success.

Welbeck has talent and certainly the potential to develop into a fine player. With pace, power and directness he offered something that others in the squad simply couldn’t. I have no doubt that in a few years time his departure may be tinged with regret by the club but the fact remains that United at this very moment need proven talent and quality for the here and now.

Radamel Falcao is one of the best No.9s in world football, the quality of player you simply can’t turn down when they become available. Make no mistake, United’s long-term future rests on the club re-joining Europe’s elite come the end of this campaign and in that sense sometimes long-term benefits are reliant on short-term fixes.

It is always disappointing to see a popular member of the squad depart, even more so when they are from the academy, but sentiment must be set aside. The ship needs steadying in the short-term so that success can follow in the long-term and that is why it was the right decision. After all, a successful team is a far more conducive environment to nurture potential than a struggling one.

It is disappointing that a loan deal could not have been formulated for a player who still has lots of potential, and with Arsenal in desperate need of a forward a deal to strengthen a rival should never have been sanctioned. Nevertheless, Welbeck leaves with well wishes and a place in the heart of many including my own, but now the club must look forward.

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  1. Short term class v’s long term mediocrity – James Wilson will come through and be a superstar! If Falcao does well this year, Utd will retain his services! Win win for Man Utd!

  2. I had a lot of time for Welbeck, but the simple fact is that if he was good enough to play up front then he would have been & not stuck on the wing. He wanted regular game time there & United couldn’t give it him.

  3. Excellent analysis by all the writers about United’s current predicament. I have to say that I tend to agree with these views. Welbeck had to go. I guess he might have been thinking about his situation at the end of last season. Welbeck in my view is not a natural goal machine like Falcao. However I would use that language in my view of Rooney but that’s another subject. I don’t think Danny would have had a fair crack of the wipe for United. RVP and Rooney are in the way. So his move to Arsenal is the right choice. I know Arsenal are one of our main rivals, remember they sold us RVP. Danny needs first team football to improve his game and United need to make sure that they are back in the Champions League next season. We need success now because of the money we have invested in the team. All our own money by the way. The capture of Falcao gives fans and players the confidence to believe that we will make the top 3. The short term success will lead to long term sustainability and success. It will also help in bringing in more world class talent. By letting Welbeck go does not mean United have lost their principals. LVG has given chances to a number of young players. Blacket has started all the league games so far and he has not let United down. So the chances are there, it’s up to the players to take them.Danny will do very well at Arsenal and Falcao will once again be the best striker in the world.

  4. I personally have always like Welbeck but he’s not a front line striker. He’s not a prolifical scorer excuses like he’s played out of position don’t cut it his goals strike rate at United was 22% not world class by anyone’s standards. In reality United need a NOW solution Falcao is a proven striker & we have at least 5 years with him. In reality the long term answer is James Wilson & Welbeck needed to go to give Wilson his turn

  5. I agree with the analysis. Welbz wasn’t ruthless enough infront of goal and the gaffer knew that, with rooney and rvp’s tendancies to drop deep in such of the ball, we needed a typical no 9 who is ruthless infront of goal hence falcao.
    He might have been played out of position but that does not warrant his goal ratio. In my view if he was as good as many of us thnk, van gal had the balls to drop rvp or even rooney for the good of the team.
    I wish him well in his career but I’m not sure United will miss him.

  6. I wish that I could be a fly on the locker room wall or a micro chip in LVG’s brain. Bottom line is that Welback was not a part of the gaffer’s plans & it’s the clear that this gaffer clearly has a plan to return United to winning football & European football. If Falcao can regain his prolific scoring form, the signing is justified.If he is a bust, maybe a youth striker will step up & make a massive contribution to our goal tally for the season.

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