Wout Weghorst to Man Utd: Simultaneously the most and least surprising January transfer

Date published: Saturday 7th January 2023 9:00 - Ian Watson

Wout Weghorst in action for Besiktas.

Apparently, Manchester United are on the verge of signing Wout Weghorst. Really.

Irrefutably, the Red Devils need a striker. Actually, they are desperate for one. Erik ten Hag is currently making do with Anthony Martial, who has convinced no one but himself that he’s a top-class centre-forward. Even if the Frenchman was a world-beating No.9, United would be lacking in numbers. As it is, they are short of quality and quantity.

To remedy that, word is United are looking to borrow Weghorst for the rest of the season. The Netherlands striker is already on loan, at Besiktas from Burnley, but Weghorst seems to have said his goodbyes to the Turkish side and their fans after scoring his eighth goal in 16 league appearances. The story goes that United are talking to both Burnley and Besiktas in an effort to bring the 30-year-old to Old Trafford for the rest of the season.

It’s somehow both the most eyebrow-raising rumour of the window so far, yet not in the least surprising. This is what United do and we’ve either become too accustomed or weary to really question it.

Is this a deal that any club among their Big Six contemporaries would touch? Would any other European big-hitter apply a similar patch to such a gaping hole in their armour?

Not likely. But for United, this is perfectly normal. This is Glazernomics.

Perhaps United supporters can tolerate another sloppy bodge job for as long as this is the last window being project-managed by the current board. A sale of the club is by no means certain any time soon – actually, it’s quite unrealistic – which makes it no more likely that United will take the summer any more seriously.

Maybe Weghorst will work. Perhaps we’re being too sniffy to take a dim view of a centre-forward trusted by Louis van Gaal to serve as an alternative to Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo, two other strikers were supposedly interested in but seemingly not serious. Weghorst certainly came up trumps when Netherlands needed him in the World Cup quarter-final. He could do the same for United. Maybe his height will offer United a threat they don’t currently possess.

Just as likely, he won’t. He scored only two Premier League goals for Burnley last season, a side who played rather more to the 6’6″ striker’s strengths. Of course, he’s likely to get more opportunities with United and since moving to Wolfsburg for the 2018-19 season, his goal tally has roughly matched his xG.

But there is no hiding that borrowing Weghorst from Burnley belies the ambitions United insist they retain, even amid the Glazers’ current level of disinterest. This is simply not how an elite, prestigious club operates, and while the decision-making at Old Trafford has been shambolic for so long, the arrival and subsequent leadership provided by a proper manager seemed to indicate that United were moving out of the circus business.

Ten Hag deserves better than being made to swallow the same mistruth forced upon United fans for so long that no good business is ever done in January, when many other clubs – plenty without the Red Devils clout – manage to recruit just fine.

Read more: Man Utd transfer latest: Comparing Wout Weghorst’s 2022-23 stats to Utd’s current strikers

More Related Articles