Many have been sceptical, but Wout Weghorst heading to Manchester United on loan makes a whole lot of sense for Erik ten Hag and co.
The Dutchman has been on loan at Besiktas from Burnley, but 90min understands that the pathway has now been cleared for him to travel to Old Trafford for a medical ahead of taking over that deal.
You may be raising your eyebrows at United signing Weghorst if your main experience of him is his five months at Burnley last season, but it’s unfair to write him off based on that period alone.
That was – to be frank – a rubbish Burnley team that nobody looked good in, and relative to the other poor souls who suffered the misfortune of playing in that side, he wasn’t that bad, getting the second most goal contributions of anyone despite playing just half a season.
More importantly, asides from his time in Lancashire, his record is actually very good with him scoring 169 times in 387 appearances, averaging 0.44 goals per game. Most of those goals came at a high level too, getting 70 in 144 matches at Wolfsburg.
Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey, Toby Cudworth and Tom Gott in the latest episode of Talking Transfers. This week they discuss Chelsea’s hectic transfer strategy, which includes a loan move for Joao Felix and interest in Romeo Lavia and Marcus Thuram among others, Man Utd’s pursuit of Burnley striker Wout Weghorst, Leandro Trossard’s Brighton future and more. Available on all audio platforms.
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!
Right now, Man Utd are in no position to turn their nose up at someone boasting such a record, with it being a far better one than that of any player currently at the club.
It may come as a surprise given he’s widely considered to be a route one target man and not much else, but he fits Ten Hag’s style of play well too.
As is shown by the big money he had Ajax pay to sign Sebastian Haller, his star man at Utrecht, the manager wants strikers who can hold up the ball and link up play but get on the end of crosses too, because his teams tend to swing in a fair few – in his time playing under Ten Hag at the two Dutch clubs, Haller headed in 16 of them and turned in plenty of others with his feet too.
In this area, Weghorst is a long way clear of Man Utd’s only recognised number nine, Anthony Martial, with aerial ability and movement in the box not the Frenchman’s strong points.
That’s not all there is to the 30-year-old’s game by any means though because, to use one of English football’s great cliches, he’s got good feet for a big man.
He’s more than capable with the ball at his feet and his back to goal and can create chances for team-mates as well as finish a decent amount of those that fall to him.
Weghorst is basically a less handsome, less talented, more tattooed Olivier Giroud.
That may not sound like the most exciting signing for Man Utd fans, but in the short term, it would be a good one.
At worst, he can come in for six months to serve as an alternative to Martial – pushing the Frenchman to raise his game and taking his place if he doesn’t – before the club go and sign a top striker in the summer, and the perfect man to bring off the bench if a goal is desperately needed. We all saw what he did against Argentina.
At best, he can be for them what Giroud is for France, a number nine that doesn’t set the world alight himself but helps get the best out of his more talented team-mates.
Given they won’t have to pay much and can get rid of him after six months if they want, it’s a risk-free signing, and looking at their transfer business in recent years, Man Utd could do with one of those.