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Danny Welbeck and the "humiliation" of Louis van Gaal

Two goals against Switzerland has made a fool of Manchester United's manager. Apparently.

Laurence Griffiths

Danny Welbeck scored a couple of goals for England last night. If you were watching with United eyes, it was a touch bittersweet; if with England or Arsenal eyes, it was very encouraging. If you were watching with Daily Mail columnist Neil Ashton's eyes -- not literally, that would be disgusting -- then it was, well, something else entirely ...

Louis van Gaal's decision to sell Danny Welbeck for £16m is one of the most controversial transfers in Manchester United history.

This is the club who signed Billy Meredith from Manchester City while he was serving a ban for attempting to bribe an opposition player. Who sold half a title-winning side to incorporate a bunch of kids from the academy. Who signed Bebe.

On Monday night, after he scored twice in an England shirt in his first start since a deadline day transfer to Arsenal, it felt like one of the biggest mistakes they have ever made.

It's got some way to go before being a bigger mistake than the sale of Jaap Stam. And he could have scored ten, and it would still get nowhere near Paul Pogba.

One goal, against Switzerland in this Euro 2016 qualifier, was embarrassing enough for van Gaal. Two feels like humiliation.

Had Van Gaal announced the signing by saying "We have taken this decision because we do not believe Danny is capable of scoring two against Switzerland," then this would be true. As it is, it isn't. Though it does suggest that Ashton has very low standards when it comes to humiliation, the poor bloke. Life must be a nightmare.

Welbeck was one of their own at United, a homegrown talent who came through the club's academy to become a first team player. They treated him like a son. He is Arsenal and England through and through now, that is for sure.

Appearances for Arsenal: none. Time Welbeck spent as a definite first team player at United: minimal. Peculiar implications that he wasn't England through and through before moving to Arsenal: one.

High up in the stands, where Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis was sat alongside FA chairman Greg Dyke, they were entitled to a satisfied smile. Welbeck's double took the heat off them both.

"And so you see, Greg, if your deadline day signing scores a couple of goals, people forget that you're going into a title campaign with six defenders, protected by only Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini."

Goals pay the rent and Welbeck, who has craved the chance to start as a centre forward for club and country, duly delivered.

Yes! This is true! He did!

Welbeck took his chance because of the injury to Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge. He is the man in possession of the jersey now.

This is quite an interesting point, actually. Welbeck did look better last night than Sturridge has for England, though tBB suspects that the Liverpool man will still be Roy Hodgson's first choice.

His tail has been up for a week or so, eager to please after Arsenal held off the threat of Tottenham to sign him in the last moments leading up to the close of the transfer window. This week he will be acquainted with his new team-mates as they prepare for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City at the Emirates. He has to start.

... because Olivier Giroud is injured, Yaya Sanogo is bobbins, and Alexis Sanchez isn't a striker.

[There is now an interlude about Raheem Sterling which isn't particularly relevant here, but does contain the wonderful juxtaposition of "These deep-lying missions are reminiscent of Zidane or Maradona" and then, just a few lines later, "It seems too soon to pin our hopes on the development of this little fella, but that's what it has come down to."]

Back to Welbeck for the conclusion:

In a couple of days' time van Gaal will attempt to explain why he elected to sell Welbeck to Arsenal on deadline day. Like Welbeck's performance for England, it will make compulsive viewing.

Everything Van Gaal does is compulsive viewing, but even he may struggle with material as weak as "He isn't as good as Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao, and he wanted first team football."

Incidentally, the numbers of times the word "Falcao" appears in the piece? Zero. How on earth it's possible to write a piece about selling a player without mentioning his replacement is beyond us, but hey. We're not here to write for the papers. We're here to read the Daily Mail so you don't have to.