Manchester United need only look at Newcastle’s transfer business from 12 months ago for guidance in their bid to bring in Wout Weghorst. Anthony Martial is the only recognised central striker at Old Trafford with both Marcus Rashford and Antony able to play in a makeshift role through the middle.
Both players operate better out wide though and Erik ten Hag has made it clear that he wants another striker brought in this month. “There is a reason [Anthony Martial has been substituted in his last seven games]. It is because he cannot manage the load. This is why we are looking for another striker,” Ten Hag said.
“It is not about us not relying on him. His physical load is not, at this moment, so high that he can play every third day a game of 90 minutes. So I have to manage that together with him. We are on a thin line at the moment because the qualities of Anthony Martial are so important right now to our game. His movements, his ball security, the pressing, let’s not forget that. We need that profile to be a threat,”
A host of names have been linked including Marcus Thuram, Joao Felix, Vincent Aboubakar and Mohammed Kudus. But United appear to have turned their attention to Weghorst, who seemingly waved goodbye to Besiktas fans following their 2-1 win over Kasimpasa on Saturday.
He’s on loan at the Turkish club from Burnley for this season, but United are said to be closing in on taking the forward to Old Trafford. The move has been met with scepticism from many United fans as Weghorst struggled to light up the Premier League with Burnley.
But the 6ft6in forward has proven throughout his career that he can get a job done in the right system. His tall frame makes him an entirely different option for Ten Hag to use should United need to change tact against a particular opponent.
Newcastle’s move for Chris Wood 12 months ago drew similar scepticism from the club’s fans at the time, but he’s proven to be crucial to Eddie Howe’s plans this year. While far from a regular goalscorer for Newcastle, the 31-year-old has certainly played his role in Newcastle’s impressive run of form.
His hold-up play has helped the likes of Miguel Almiron, Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton to thrive in Newcastle’s attacking unit. Wood won’t be the first name on the teamsheet at St James’ Park when everyone is fit, likewise for Weghorst at Old Trafford if he moves.
But Ten Hag’s side is crying out for a striker in their squad who can provide them with something different to what they already have. And Weghorst signing on loan could well be the unlikely key to help them secure a top-four finish at the end of the season.