Both Manchester United and Liverpool have acted quickly in this transfer window to bring in Dutch attackers who had some success at the recent World Cup. Miq has already profiled Cody Gakpo joining Liverpool; here we look at Manchester United’s new loan signing Wout Weghorst.
Wout Weghorst was born in August 1992, in Borne in the eastern Netherlands, close to the German border, so he’s towards the end of his career at 30 years old.
His early career for lower-league Dutch teams was unspectacular, but he got a move to AZ Alkmaar for €1.5m in 2016 where he scored 13 goals in his first season and then 18 in his second, which earned him an international call-up. A €10m move to VfL Wolfsburg in Germany followed, where in three full seasons he tallied 17, 16 and 20 goals respectively.
Weghorst joined Burnley for €14m in last year’s January transfer window, playing 20 times for the struggling side. He scored only twice as the Clarets were relegated. Instead of playing for Burnley in the Championship, he was loaned to a Turkish side where he managed eight goals plus four assists in the 16 games he played. At the recent World Cup in Qatar, he scored twice in the dramatic quarterfinal against the eventual winners Argentina.
How Will Weghorst Fit in at Manchester United?
Given that United was understandably desperate to pick up a striker after Cristiano Ronaldo left during the World Cup, Weghorst’s performance against Argentina came at an opportune moment to catch the eye. Most importantly, his game style fits Erik ten Hag’s requirements for a pressing game. While his time in the Premier League at Burnley was disappointing in terms of goals, we must remember that this was a team struggling in most departments at that level. Despite that, he was notably top of the pressing charts for the season, managing more presses per 90 minutes than any other player.
He also covers a lot of distance during the game, coming 24th for the league, covering an average 10.69 km per 90 minutes. Ten Hag clearly requires a high intensity from his players; following their 4-0 defeat to Brentford in his first game in charge, he made his players run 13.8km, which was the distance by which Brentford had out-run his team that day.
At 6 feet 6 inches, Weghorst also offers height in attack and an obvious aerial target, with hold-up play being one of his strengths. It could also help with United’s weakness from set-plays — Near the bottom of the league, only Wolves and Everton have scored fewer goals from set-pieces this year.
On the face of it, Weghorst is a temporary fix to United’s attacking problems, and looking at his previous Premier League form, he is not going to set the scoring charts alight. But Manchester United is a much better team than Burnley was last year, and his scoring rates for other more successful teams, albeit not in the Premier League, are more attractive.
In Offical FPL, he is priced quite attactively at £6.0, so if he nails down a regular starting spot and contributes a few goals and assists he could be a viable third striker option. That’s two quite big ifs, admittedly!
In Fantrax, after his game against Crystal Palace, he is priced at rock-bottom £1.00, but unless he starts getting involved with goals, he doesn’t appear likely to rack up many points. That his first two games yielded only 4.5 and 3 points seems typical of what we can expect without any goals or assists. So for me he is not an attractive option even at his rock-bottom price.
Is taking an on-loan Burnley player the right move for Manchester United? Is this an evolution of United’s play under ten Hag, or just a temporary fix for a hole they find themselves in? Will he start in most matches, or will Martial come back in once fit? Will he become an important fantasy option? Please log in and tell us what you think!