Danny Welbeck’s versatility has always helped the striker hang on to his Manchester United career, despite the England international’s meagre scoring record.
However that may no longer be a saving grace for the 23-year-old under Louis van Gaal, as the Dutchman’s preference for fielding three centre backs means Welbeck will be more likely used as an out-and-out striker.
With the wide-men in a 3-5-2 system required to play as wing backs, Welbeck is unlikely to be trusted with the kind of defensive duties playing close to the touchline entails, and as a result it seems the Manchester native finds himself low in Van Gaal’s striking pecking order.
Javier Hernandez, who suffered Welbeck’s frustrations under David Moyes, seems to have leapfrogged the Old Trafford academy graduate at the start of the season, with Welbeck reportedly being told he can quit the Red Devils if he so desires.
There’s no shortage of options for the 26-cap international, with Sunderland, Arsenal and Tottenham all chasing his signature.
A successful loan spell with the Black Cats, who are 7/2 to beat United on Sunday, during the 2010-11 season may tempt Welbeck into plumping for a return to the north east, while the likelihood of guaranteed playing time may also weigh heavily in his decision.
Switching to either of the north London sides wouldn’t guarantee Welbeck a starting role, with Arsenal employing Olivier Giroud as well as Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez as their goal-getters.
Tottenham’s apparent decision to develop Harry Kane this season would impact on Welbeck’s minutes should he make White Hart Lane his next home, with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor also vying for minutes.
Either way it seems time on the forward’s United career is ticking to a close, but where he chooses to spend the next stage of his footballing life could surprise a few.
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