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Why Manchester United could regret selling Danny Welbeck

The Boot Room

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According to reports last week, Louis van Gaal has told striker Danny Welbeck he can leave Manchester United this summer and the striker’s laboured performance against MK Dons will have done little to change his mind.

The United boss may have refused to comment on the details of the conversation but admitted to having a chat with Ryan Giggs and Welbeck on his future.

Welbeck, 23, has scored 20 goals so far in 90 Premier League appearances. He is well-liked by United fans and deserves to be for his outstanding work ethic alone but the perceived weaknesses in his game, specifically his finishing, always seems to have held him back from being a certified regular in United’s front line.

His advocates will contend that Welbeck is a player who shouldn’t be judged by his finishing and that it is the forward’s movement and link-up play that has always been his strength. When Sir Alex Ferguson picked him ahead of Wayne Rooney against Real Madrid in March of last year, it was because of his pace and threatening ability to get in behind the Spanish giants’ defence.

It was also because of Welbeck’s sheer energy. Those who prefer to see Javier Hernandez shown the door instead might also cite Welbeck’s ability to harry defenders into a panic as evidence that the Manchester native simply brings more of an overall contribution to the forward line.

If we take it as a given that Rooney and Robin van Persie are the first choice pairing, the statistics paint an interesting comparison of Welbeck and Hernandez. Welbeck scored nine Premier League goals last season, registering just one assist. Hernandez scored only four, registering two assists and both had a nearly identical successful pass percentage.

Welbeck’s numbers do not particularly fit the idea that he is a great link-up man and a poor finisher but perhaps that rather sums him up – a player still developing a role for himself. After all, he is still only 23 and far from the finished article.

If Louis van Gaal really would prefer to keep Chicharito on the books, it could still be Welbeck’s weakness at finishing that concerns him. The striker’s fatal flaw was most brutally exposed by the hesitant chip against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford back in April, which again overshadowed an otherwise decent performance.

However, the reports have still come as a huge surprise. Hernandez has done little thus far to prove he can cut it as a starter ahead of Robin Van Persie or Wayne Rooney and has subsequently been dropped from his international side.

The problem now is Welbeck knows that first-team football will be hard to come by behind under Van Gaal. If he should leave, his supporters will bemoan the lack of cover and creative attacking play which he can produce. His critics may argue that if you cannot finish comfortably week to week, you cannot expect to be a regular starter.

The reality is that in a squad desperately short of options, the forward line is the only element that remains overcrowded. If Welbeck leaves and Van Persie or Rooney find themselves injured, Van Gaal will have to rely on Hernandez and the youth.

United fans will trust van Gaal knows what he’s doing – the alternative is too terrifying to contemplate – but should things get worse, the boy from Longsight could be missed.


What do you think? Will Manchester United live to regret letting Danny Welbeck go? Does he remain a valuable asset to Louis Van Gaal? Get involved with the discussion in the comment section below, or on Twitter @TBRFootball.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

West Ham United

Marlon Santos joining West Ham would be ideal solution to defensive woes

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Photo: Getty Images.

There will be a summer of change at West Ham United this summer and with James Collins leaving the club there will be a spot opening up in defence. Reports from Spain indicate that the man to fill it could be Barcelona youngster Marlon Santos.

The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants permanently last summer after impressing for their B team and earning a first team debut in 2016/17 and spent pre-season with Ernesto Valverde’s first team before being sent out on loan.

Now, reliable Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say that West Ham are interested in taking the defender on loan next season after he has impressed in France, playing for OGC Nice, making 27 appearances during his loan spell.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has also been linked with Leicester but with West Ham believed to be leading the chase, it would be a wise move from Manuel Pellegrini to seal a deal as soon as possible.

Strong in the tackle, Santos would also bring some much needed pace to the West Ham defence. Replacing the likes of Collins and Jose Fonte who departed in January, the arrival of a fleet-footed defender would be a welcome turnaround at the London Stadium.

It may also suggest a change in style, with the former Fluminense youth product known for his ability on the ball, often looking to dribble out from the back to get his team transitioning from defence to attack.

Pellegrini is clearly putting the building blocks in place to build a side in his own image, and bringing in Marlon Santos would be a cheap and sensible addition to fix a major problem area.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Malcom would add another dimension to Tottenham’s attack

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Photo: Getty Images.

After an impressive 2017/18 campaign, Tottenham are already beginning to plan for 2018/19 and are keen to make a statement in their first season in a new look White Hart Lane. One way they may do so is with the addition of Girondins Bordeaux forward Malcom.

Sky Bet currently list Tottenham at 7/2 to sign the Brazilian, just behind favourites Manchester United in the running at 3/1, and such an acquisition would bring an exciting new element to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking set-up.

Predominantly playing on the right wing, Malcom may offer more width than many of the options within the Tottenham squad, but much like Heung-Min Son and Erik Lamela, he likes to dribble on the ball and cut inside, offering a direct threat rather than looking to cross into others.

The 21-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 Ligue Un games for Bordeaux this season and whilst not exactly prolific, would help to add goals to the Lilywhites’ midfield and reduce the reliance on Harry Kane.

(Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He also has some similarities to the likes of Christian Eriksen as a superb set piece taker who likes to shoot from distance, helping to add another dimension as Tottenham look to break down more defensive sides who sit deep in hope of frustrating them.

With huge potential to develop even further, Malcom may not come cheaply but would represent an interesting project for Pochettino to get even more out of him. Whilst he bares many similarities to Erik Lamela when he arrived in north London, if he can avoid injury he could go on to become the player Spurs had hoped to see Lamela become.

His pace and threat would add a much needed option into the Spurs attack, complimenting the playmakers like Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura and supporting the goalgetter Harry Kane. Strength in depth is key in Tottenham’s quest for silverware and Malcom would be a step in the right direction to achieving it.

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Newcastle United

Fulham promotion opens up £15m exit for Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Newcastle United star is likely to move away from the club this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Fulham won promotion to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. The Cottagers scored in the first-half through Tom Cairney to rightfully take their place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was a tremendous performance and in the summer Fulham will be looking to bring in some new faces to help them stay in the top-flight. One of those faces, will not be necessarily new. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been brilliant for Fulham since joining on loan in January.

The Serbian striker has scored 12 goals since his arrival at Craven Cottage and will no doubt be wanted permanently at the club.

Is this good news for Newcastle United?

There has been plenty of talk regarding the Serbian’s exit from St James’ Park in the winter. Many fans on Tyneside are wondering whether the club should have kept him at Newcastle, considering his goal record in London.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

However, it is clear that Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the player and the Spaniard certainly made things work without him.

The best thing for Newcastle right now is to sell him and ensure they bring in enough money to cover the cost of his original signing.

Fulham represent their best option to do so. Newcastle want about £15 million for the player, according to the London Evening Standard, which is the fee they paid for the Serbian in 2015.

Fulham will no doubt want to bring him to the club this summer, but would not have been able to bring him to the club had they failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The Cottagers can now afford the player and Mitrovic’s price-tag is unlikely to be a problem with the bonus they will receive for heading into the top-flight. Newcastle must be pleased that Fulham earned promotion, as it will allow them the best opportunity to move Mitrovic on without a major loss.

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