When news started coming through last Saturday regarding a potential link to Wout Weghorst, many fans were taken by surprise. Myself included. I was not as vociferous or aggrieved as some, but it was somewhat of a curveball. Given the amount of strikers who have been linked during this January transfer window, it was just another one to add to the pile. Perhaps one to pursue as a bluff to the press whilst the club disguised their bid for a so-called big name striker.
And we have had plenty of names associated with us over the past few weeks. Even more so after Cristiano Ronaldo decided to set fire to his Old Trafford career with that interview. Goncalo Gomes and Joao Felix from Portugal and Benfica and Atletico Madrid respectively, former player Memphis Depay of Holland and currently Barcelona, his national colleague Cody Gakpo formally of PSV Eindhoven, Mohammed Kudus of Ghana and Ajax, Alvaro Morata of Spain and Atletico Madrid and Victor Osimhen of Nigeria and Napoli. None of which came to fruition and leaves us with Weghorst.
Some of the narrative concerning his imminent is somewhat short of ridiculous though. Wesley Sneijder showing the level of character he is by claiming it is ‘a stunt’. Ian Watson of Football 365 calling it ‘a bodge job’. Sky Sports News pundits Steve Howey and Stephen Kelly calling it ‘a weird move’. Fan channels screaming obscenities claiming that anyone who supports this move is a fan of the Glazers.
All of which is nonsense of course. The un-happy spell he endured at Burnley last season being caste iron proof that he is a terrible player. And for him to play in Turkey being the definitive proof of this. But then again every player who doesn’t well in the Premier League is dogshit. Diego Forlan, Gerard Pique, Mohamed Salah….all as bad as Curtis Woodhouse and John O’ Kane.
If people were able to put away their blinkers for a while, they would be able to see the benefit of the deal. In both the Eredivise and Bundesliga, his return is highly impressive. With AZ Alkmaar he netted 45 in 60 games, while with Wolfsburg he bagged 70 in 144 appearances. He demonstrated his capacity for causing mayhem off the bench when he scored twice in injury time to draw Holland level against Argentina. The second being a set-piece effort in the 10th minute that he had used before at Wolfsburg. His height is an obvious asset, and one we can certainly exploit on crosses and set-pieces, but he is not a one-trick pony. His pressing from the front stats is very impressive and he is noted for being quick to seize on chances inside the box.
It is a deal that suits both club and player. United have an experienced player in the forward positions to provide a back-up to the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. He provides characteristics that no other striker at the club possesses. Indeed, we have not had a player of his height and presence for quite some time. He will likely be for a reasonable loan fee and the club can then look towards another full-time option in the summer. It gives Weghorst a chance to prove himself in a bigger league yet again and show that he can put himself forward to stake a claim for a starting position in the national side.
It is not a straight forward deal obviously at the moment. Besikas are perhaps rightly annoyed at the news and will prevent it going through unless they can get a replacement. He had been on a season-long loan with the Turkish club which did not have a provision for a recall. He had proven to be a quick favourite with their fans and they seemed genuinely upset at the thought of losing him. Ironically, it could well be another player linked with United who could fill that void. Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon had been released by Al Nassar following the arrival of Ronaldo. He could be the man to complete this merry go round full circle.
I am just looking forward to him banging in chances and causing carnage in the opposition penalty areas. In Wout we trust!