Manchester United are exploring the possibility of signing Wout Weghorst on loan for the rest of the season.
Erik ten Hag has been keen on signing a new striker throughout his time at Old Trafford, and the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo towards the back end of last year has only added weight to the club’s need and want for a forward.
Weghorst, who is renowned for his towering 6ft 6in frame, is currently plying his trade out on loan for Turkish club Besiktas. The striker signed for his parent club Burnley on the final day of the transfer window last January on a three-and-a-half-year deal; however, he did not have the great impact many thought he would, scoring only two goals in that time as The Clarets went down to the Championship, a relegation that prompted the loan move to Turkey for this 2022/23 season.
His form has much improved out on the continent, though, with eight goals scored in double the amount of games in the Süper Lig this campaign.
The transfer man himself Fabrizio Romano has confirmed that Weghorst is “100% keen on the move”, but a loan deal for the 30-year-old may prove trickier than what many people may think.Embed from Getty Images
With the Dutchman currently being on loan, it would require a mutual agreement between both parent club Burnley and loan club Besiktas to terminate the loan spell, likely involving a compensation package to make it worth Besiktas’ while. After that, it would mean United and Burnley negotiating loan terms, although that would be more straightforward you would imagine.
Interestingly, the former Wolfsburg man appeared to wave an emotional goodbye to the Besiktas fans after scoring a goal in the side’s victory over Kasimpasa at the weekend.
After the game, head coach of Besiktas Senol Gunes said: “Weghorst is an important player for us. It is not enough to say goodbye to the audience. He also needs to talk to the club.
“I have heard of such a development, but it is not clear. I’ll consider [him] leaving after I talk to both him and the club”.
Ten Hag has been open about his desire for a new striker, recently noting how Anthony Martial “cannot manage the load” in relation to the physical strain of playing three whole matches per week for the rest of the season. The French striker has been struggling with injuries this season and is being managed accordingly by Ten Hag and the club’s medical staff; he is yet to complete a full ninety-minute match this campaign.
John Murtough is a member of the Old Trafford transfer department that has come under hefty scrutiny in recent times for what can only be described as pure incompetence in the eyes of many fans. On the subject of the transfer window, he said: “We won’t be busy in January, but it is no secret that we’re looking for a new striker. We already spent £200m in the summer”.
After the disappointment of missing out on Coady Gakpo to Liverpool, it appears United will also miss out on Joao Felix following Murtough’s comments. It looks like it could be Weghorst or nothing for Ten Hag, with the potential move reminiscent of Odion Ighalo’s loan to Manchester two years ago under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or even the last gasp move for Edison Cavani six months later.Embed from Getty Images
Nonetheless, Weghorst would offer a different attacking outlet for a United side that lacks much height advantage at the moment. Ten Hag’s men are notoriously poor from corners, and have been for many years now.
It would be unfair to label the striker as just a clunky target man, however. Weghorst managed 48.7 presses per ninety last season in the Premier League, the highest amount in the entirety of the league, and clearly does an immense amount of off-the-ball work.
This trait could be of uses to Ten Hag who has highlighted Martial’s pressing contribution and the importance of it of late.
Fans will have to wait and see how the Weghorst saga unfolds. One thing that is for certain, though, is that a new striker will be heading to the Theatre of Dreams this January, whoever it may be.