If you hadn’t heard already, United have dissolved the academy and now intend to break the transfer record with every new signing.
Like Chelsea and Manchester City, we don’t play any of the players we have produced ourselves, we don’t nurture top division quality talent, and are just attempting to buy success. We have next to no English players and have no interest in promoting local talent.
What will happen in the future now, nobody knows, but that thread has been broken now. There is always the start of something and maybe this is the start of a new way of doing things at Manchester United and maybe that is the way football is going. Is it better to look at the instant rather than the future? It is a difficult one because youth is always the future. We all have to start somewhere and you just hope that product of youth can develop in the Premier League.
Believe it or not, Mike Phelan is referring to the sale of Danny Welbeck in his statement above. The “thread has been broken” because we sold one up-and-coming striker and replaced him with one of the best players in the world in the same position.
I have made no secret of my genuine affection for Welbeck. Of course I could recognise his flaws but then I could also understand that he was just 23-years-old. Last season, he had a better scoring record than the likes of Didier Drogba, Ian Wright and Karim Benzema and his age. I wanted to see him given the chance to prove what he could do at United.
The notion that United are now becoming disconnected from their roots and becoming like Chelsea and City is nonsense. However much I like Welbeck, there was no way he was going to get in the starting XI ahead of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. The additions of Juan Mata and Angel di Maria meant even fewer options for Welbeck to get playing time.
Welbeck wasn’t happy to sit on the bench during the peak of his career and that is fair enough. Van Gaal reportedly told he had no problems with Welbeck staying but wouldn’t try and stop him if he wanted to leave. From the reaction of the media and fans, both rival and at United, you would think this was unusual. How many former academy players have left the club over the years because the manager didn’t deem them good enough for the starting XI and they wanted regular football elsewhere? The likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville all spent their entire career at the club, but United have made around £140m from the sales of youth products over the past couple of decades. Why are people so critical because the club chose to sell Welbeck?
Quite possibly because in Welbeck’s place is one of the best strikers in the world, with 155 goals in his last 200 games. Because one former youth player has left and a world class players has filled his boots, there’s somehow the notion that United are ditching youth and homegrown talent, like City and Chelsea.
That notion is, of course, nonsense. 12 out of the 25 players in Van Gaal’s squad are homegrown and 7 of them are from the academy. So, almost a third of United’s current squad has come up through the ranks and almost half are homegrown.
In City’s squad, they only have one player who came up through the ranks, Boyata, who made 1 appearance for them last season and 0 appearances this season. In Chelsea’s squad, they too just have one player from the ranks, Terry, who made his debut 15 years ago.
I’m gutted Danny’s gone but anyone who thinks his sale is something new has been reading too many papers. The academy players who aren’t good enough for the starting team have been leaving the club for years. I’m sad that Welbeck is the latest to join that list but he won’t be the last, and there’s nothing wrong with that.