It’s no secret that Manchester United are looking to bolster their attack this month with the club reportedly closing in on a surprise deal to sign Dutch striker Wout Weghorst.
Date of Birth: 07/08/1992 (30)
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1.97 m (6ft 6in)
Who is Wout Weghorst?Embed from Getty Images
Weghorst is a 30-year-old Dutch striker currently playing for Turkish club Besiktas, on loan from Burnley. Weghorst has spent a large part of his career playing in the Netherlands having featured for Willem II, FC Emmen, Heracles Almelo and finally AZ Alkmaar which is where his reputation really began to grow. Following his impressive spell at AZ, the Dutchman left his homeland for Germany in 2018 and joined Wolfsburg where he enjoyed a relatively successful spell. While he made his debut for the Netherlands in 2018, during his time at Wolfsburg was when he really established himself as a regular figure in the Dutch squad. Following a successful spell in Germany, Weghorst made the switch to English club Burnley in 2022, when they were still in the Premier League. However, Weghorst had a difficult time at Turf Moor. Burnley’s style of play didn’t really suit him and he only found the back of the net twice in 20 games, and Burnley were subsequently relegated.
In the summer, Weghorst joined Besiktas on loan and so far this season, he’s scored eight goals and has set up four in 16 Süper Lig games. He was also a part of the Netherlands’ squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and while he didn’t play much, he was Oranje’s saviour against Argentina coming off the bench to score twice to make it 2-2. While it ended in heartbreak for him and the Dutch after losing on penalties, Weghorst’s performance in that game spoke volumes of the Dutchman’s minerals.
According to numerous reports, Manchester United are seriously pursuing a deal to sign the Dutchman on loan for the rest of the season. The deal is slightly complicated, as Besiktas have the option to sign Weghorst for €10m and Burnley don’t have a recall clause. However, all three clubs are reportedly working to find a solution with Weghorst extremely keen on a move to Old Trafford.
Weghorst has attributes to his game that make him a very useful player to have in certain games. The striker is 6”5 so it’s no surprise that Weghorst is dominant in the air. In games where United are struggling to break down opponents or when a late goal is needed, Weghorst would pose a massive threat from crosses and set-pieces. His ability to bring others into play is also another very impressive attribute to his game. Weghorst’s hold-up play is exceptional, which isn’t necessarily a surprise due to his height and strength. His link-up play is another area in which he excels, reflected in the number of assists and chances he creates.Embed from Getty Images
Weghorst is also an extremely hard-worker, and that’s arguably the most admirable attribute to his game. The Dutchman has been described as a ‘pressing monster’ thanks to the reputation he has gained for pressing relentlessly. Due to this, he is quite good at winning the ball back in areas higher up the pitch. During the 2021/22 Premier League season, Weghorst averaged around four ball recoveries per 90 which is extremely impressive for a striker. While he does have bad games just like any other player, his attitude and work-rate is one thing that can never be questioned about him.
For all strikers, their goal-scoring record is the thing that matters most and Weghorst’s record is decent while not being particualartly amazing. He scored 70 times in 144 games for Wolfsburg, 45 times in 86 games for AZ Alkmaar and so far for Besiktas this season, he’s found the back of the net eight times in 16 Süper Lig games. He is a specialist striker and poses a serious threat in the penalty box which is needed at United.
In terms of weaknesses, there are a few things that do let Weghorst down at times. As hard as he works, he doesn’t win enough of his ground duels and it’s something he could certainly improve on. He’s also not the quickest but that’s not a big issue when he’s used correctly. The Dutchman certainly does have his limitations however, when used to his strengths and in a system that suits him, he is a very effective striker.
Where would Wout Weghorst bring to Manchester United?Embed from Getty Images
Should United secure Weghorst’s services for the rest of the season, he’d be a very useful option for Erik ten Hag in specific games. United aren’t always going to be able to play beautiful football and carve opponents open time after time. There will be frustrating games where Ten Hag’s side can’t break opponents down and this is where Weghorst would make a difference. He isn’t necessarily suited to games against big teams where United like to counter-attack, but he’d be very useful against opponents who sit back deep or also when United need a goal late on.
United lack a player like Weghorst and even though players like him aren’t necessarily the most pleasing on the eye, they certainly have their purpose and use. Weghorst would be Anthony Martial’s back-up, but given the Frenchman’s issue with injuries, he’d likely get regular game time at United.
As we saw in the Netherlands’ World Cup quarter-final against Argentina, Weghorst is a player who will give his all till the final whistle and is known for being ultra-competitive.
VerdictEmbed from Getty Images
Not many people would have predicted United to sign Weghorst, let alone show any kind of interest but there is certainly logic to Ten Hag’s decision to pursue a deal for the former Wolfsburg striker. United are operating on a low budget this month but it is still essential that they sign a striker and Weghorst certainly isn’t a bad option when you take a closer look at this game.
United have also been heavily linked to Atletico Madrid wantaway João Félix. According to the reliable Spanish outlet Relevo, United have launched a loan bid for Félix. According to them, United offered a loan fee of €4m plus and paying his full salary for the rest of the season. However, the Madrid club reportedly want around €12m/€13m to let the Portuguese attacker leave on a temporary basis. Arsenal are also said to be keen on a move for Félix and while Weghorst is a good addition, United must also do everything to sign Félix.
Félix and Weghorst would significantly bolster Ten Hag’s attacking options for the rest of the season, which is necessary for the hunt for silverware and the top 4. Richard Arnold and John Murtough need to ensure that they get deals done for both Weghorst and Félix, and they need to do so swiftly.