Danny Welbeck
Welbeck completed a deadline day move to Arsenal for a £16 million feeReuters

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan feels the club has damaged their identity, by letting striker Danny Welbeck join Arsenal on transfer deadline day.

The Red Devils spent in excess of £150 million on transfers of some high-profile players this summer, including Angel di Maria and Ramadel Falcao, but have sold their academy products including Welbeck, Tom Cleverley (initial loan) and Tom Lawrence.

And Phelan feels United have lost the tradition of relying on their own academy for new talent.

"They have probably lost the way of Manchester United a little bit," Phelan told BBC. "Now, rather than produce, it may be the case where they are buying in."

"Someone like a Danny Welbeck has been part of United's identity and that has been broken. What will happen in the future now, nobody knows but that thread has been broken now."

United academy has produced quite a few excellent players in the past, including Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.

And due to this reason, they never used to spend so much in the transfer market back then. However, Phelan, who served under former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson from 2008 to 2013, feels the Red Devils are now trying to buy instant success rather than looking to do well with their own young players.

"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.

"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."

Former Fulham boss Rene Meulensteen, another member of Ferguson's coaching staff, says he was also surprised to see Welbeck leave, though he admits the move is good for both parties.

"Yes [I'm surprised]," he told the Telegraph. "I think for both parties it is a good move. I hate to see him leave Manchester United.

However, Meulensteen is confident that Welbeck will shine at Arsenal.

"For him it would be a fantastic move but I think he is the sort of player who can really strengthen Arsenal. I have known Danny since the age of eight or nine. I saw him come through. He is not an out and out goalscorer. He is a link player, he is a creator, he is unpredictable.

"He is still young. I think if he is in the right team, with games, he can score more goals. It is a shame that players that come through the ranks have to leave the club."

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