LONDON, September 12- Louis van Gaal said he sold Danny Welbeck to Arsenal because the forward did not score enough goals for Manchester United and claimed he had brought in one of the best strikers in world football by signing Radamel Falcao.
Manchester United have been criticised for selling Welbeck, a fan of the club who came through the youth system, with former captain Gary Neville calling Van Gaal’s decision to let him go “strange”.
But the Dutchman contrasted Welbeck’s record of 29 goals in 142 games for the club with the better returns of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie and said he would rather give opportunities to teenage forward James Wilson than the new Arsenal player.
He said in a news conference: “Danny Welbeck was here since he was nine. He plays three seasons at Manchester United after [a loan spell at] Sunderland but he doesn’t have the record of Van Persie or Rooney.
“That is the standard but that is why we let him go because [of] Falcao but also the youngsters who can fit in.”
Falcao, who has scored 155 goals in 200 games in European football, has joined United on a season-loan loan from Monaco.
And Van Gaal added: “When you can hire or buy a player like Falcao, I don’t have doubts because he is for me one of the best strikers in the world and when you see his record it is unbelievable. He confirmed it in his first training session with me. Today in training he got one ball and it was in the goal.”
The Dutchman has made six summer signings by bringing in Falcao, Daley Blind, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw.
But he insisted he has not abandoned United’s tradition of promoting youngsters and insisted he has created opportunities for them by allowing others to leave.
He explained: “We let go 14 players and only bought six players so eight positions are vacant and they are vacant for the youth. I have already used a lot of youngsters in preseason and in the season. I am always willing to give young players chances but they have to take them.”
Van Gaal was adamant he has not signed Falcao because of fears that Robin van Persie’s knee problems will recur.
He added: “I think Robin van Persie is fitter than before the World Cup. I think he was injured before the World Cup but he has fought to be there but maybe you remember I let him train the first three weeks before I let him play a game. He is more fit than ever before.”