Manchester United look set to add some much-needed firepower to their attack in January following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo as Wout Weghorst is close to joining the Red Devils on loan.
He has all but officially signed on loan from Burnley, having been at Besiktas during the first half of the season, and there is no option for United to make the move permanent in the summer.
As far as transfers go, though, this has not been a normal one in regards to how it has come about and been executed. Here is how the situation of Weghorst to Manchester United unfolded.
There have been a lot of moving parts when it comes to the Weghorst deal which seemed to get over the line on Thursday morning. Essentially, none of it would have happened if Cristiano Ronaldo was still a United player.
The termination of his contract during the 2022 Qatar World Cup meant United were extremely light when it came to a centre forward. They were already lacking in that area, but with Ronaldo gone, an injury-prone Anthony Martial became the only central striker in the squad.
It was clear United would need to enter the market in January for a striker or place a lot of faith in a youngster from the academy. Weghorst began to be linked, as did Vincent Aboubakar briefly. Aboubakar was under contract at Al Nassr, who Ronaldo has now joined, and Weghorst was on loan at Besiktas from Burnley.
It is an incredibly unusual triangle of players but essentially Ronaldo leaving United has opened the space for a forward and his arrival at Al Nassr makes Aboubakar less vital to the Saudi Arabian club, so United are poaching Weghorst from Besiktas with the deal becoming much easier once it became clear Aboubakar will almost certainly join Besiktas.
90min understand Besiktas have given Weghorst permission to fly to Manchester for a medical now that a compensation fee has been agreed with them and Burnley to terminate his loan at the Turkish club. United are loaning him directly from Burnley and have paid Besiktas £2.5m for the inconvenience of losing the player mid-season.
The rush for United is to get him in the squad for the Manchester derby which kicks off at 12:30 GMT on Saturday.
There are very mixed opinions as to whether this is a good move for United or not. Regardless of how well he does, United are not saddled with him for long as it is a six-month loan with no option to buy.
Some fans are only familiar with his work at Burnley in the second half of the 2021/22 season. He signed for €17.5m from Wolfsburg and was tasked with getting Burnley out of trouble. It did not work, with Weghorst getting two goals and three assists in 20 games and the Clarets getting relegated.
The bulk of the 30-year-old Dutchman’s career has been spent at Wolfsburg and he has had some very prolific seasons in the Bundesliga. In the 2018/19 campaign, he scored 17 times and got seven assists. There were another 16 league goals the next season, and then in 2020/21 he scored 20 goals and got nine assists.
The assists are key here. United have some incredibly talented wide players right now in great form and Weghorst could be the perfect striker to play off. There is also now a distinct lack of height in United’s attack and Weghorst’s 6’4 frame will add another dimension to what is already becoming a very impressive group of players.
Having scored eight goals alongside four assists in the Turkish Super Lig, Weghorst is in form and may be able to hit the ground running if Erik ten Hag can get the best out of him.