Louis van Gaal says he has no regrets over the sale of Danny Welbeck ahead of Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Arsenal on Saturday.
Welbeck, who came through the prestigious youth ranks at Old Trafford, moved to The Emirates in a £16million deal on deadline day in the last transfer window, and has bagged five goals for the Gunners so far.
The England forward had struggled to cement his place in the Reds’ starting line-up in the last year, but Van Gaal says the move benefited all parties.
“I think that a player who is playing mostly fixed in the team, he develops and always will,” said Van Gaal.
“He takes all the benefit from playing every week. That was a question mark with Manchester United. It’s good to see he’s doing what I thought.
“He could have also played for Manchester United, but we have decided that he could go and he has taken the benefit of it.”
United are without a win in their last seven away league games while Arsenal have thrown away leads late on in their last two fixtures.
The Reds have not lost to Arsene Wenger’s side in their last six games in all competitions, though the north London outfit are unbeaten in their last 23 home matches.
And Welbeck, who turns 24 next week, will be hoping to mark the occasion by scoring in his first appearance against United, though he will face a late fitness test after picking up a hamstring strain in England’s midweek triumph over Scotland.
However, Van Gaal is adamant he hasn’t lost any sleep over the possibility of a former charge coming back to haunt him.
“I don’t think it is so important how I judge him because he is now playing for Arsenal,” the Dutchman added.
“He’s not a Manchester United player anymore so now we have to beat him also. He’s not alone, we have to beat Arsenal.
“You know Robin van Persie was a player at Arsenal and he has scored already three goals against Arsenal as a United player. That’s life, believe me.”
United’s clashes with Arsenal are notoriously tumultuous, with the rivalry often coming to blows in spectacular fashion.
But Van Gaal, who has only faced Arsenal once before as a manager, believes that passion will be decisive in securing a victory for his depleted side, who are likely to be without several key players.
“The rivalry [between United and Arsenal] is normal in sport. It is abnormal when it’s not like that,” said Van Gaal.
“It’s the first time I’m sitting on the bench against Arsenal as Manchester United coach. I have faced them once when I was in Barcelona, then Wenger was on the bench.
“The way they play for such a long time, he has an attacking way of playing and when you play for the fans, I think it’s good.”
Main image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube, with thanks.