LONDON, September 2- Former Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan believes that the club have lost their way following the departure of Danny Welbeck and the arrival of a host of big-money signings.
Welbeck secured a £16 million move to Arsenal on transfer deadline day, ending 13-year association with the club which he joined as an 11-year-old.
The England international’s exit means that Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans are the only remaining regulars in the United squad that are products of the club’s famed academy, while youngsters Reece James and Tyler Blackett have also featured this season.
Such a scenario is a far cry from the successful team of the 1990’s and early 2000’s which boasted a host of homegrown players, including the famed ‘Class of ’92’.
Phelan feels that Welbeck’s exit is a sad day for the club, and illustrates what appears to be a change in philosophy.
“They have probably lost the way of Manchester United a little bit,” Phelan told BBC Sport.
“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.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
New United boss Louis van Gaal has showed he is not scared to spend big, splashing out £151.5m to bring in Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo on permanent deals, while Radamel Falcao has joined the club on loan.