3 things Wout Weghorst offers Manchester United that Anthony Martial hasn’t this season

Wout Weghorst is the late Christmas present Manchester United fans were not expecting but are getting.

He won’t be first choice, but Weghorst might offer some needed qualities  (Image: Patrick Smith – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The budget for this new year’s splash is rather dainty after the summer’s £225m spend. As a result, United have had to look into the loan market and find a cheap makeshift back-up striker for Anthony Martial.

Weghorst, aged 30, is little more than a stop-gap ahead of a major summer coup but the player seems happy enough to play that role,  indicating his desire  to make the temporary switch happen.

His looming arrival is sᴜʀᴘʀɪsɪɴɢ given his Premier League return for parent club Burnley last season – two goals in 20 games. Perhaps it’s no wonder he’s so keen to grasp the olive branch.

Speaking last weekend, Patrice Evra said he wants United to sign a striker who gets “ᴜɢʟʏ” goals and not one that looks pretty on the pitch with no output.

“I want us to look ᴜɢʟʏ and have a player like Filippo Inzaghi and have people saying ‘who the ʜᴇʟʟ is this he can’t even dribble’ but at the end of the season he’s scored more than 20 goals,” he said.

If  Weghorst  can tally double figures in his four months then his loan spell would go down as an overachievement. He is, though, the type of attacker Evra identified.

Weghorst’s equaliser for the Netherlands in the 11th minute of stoppage time in their World Cup quarter-final ᴄʟᴀsʜ against Argentina was clever and effective but the finish was somewhat bustling. That doesn’t matter though, it’s the end result that counts.

Weghorst is a striker of fundamentals – do them right and you’ll get somewhere close to scoring. His pre-practised one-touch and head-down finish against Argentina from the free-kick routine exemplified this.

Weghorst nets the equaliser vs Argentina  (Image: All – Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

It’s an ethos that may benefit  United  right now given Martial’s in-and-out form. The striker has been plagued with injuries this year, having suffered three separate setbacks, and is yet to complete a 90 minutes all season, missing 16 matches already this term.

Weghorst has only failed to see out a full match once this season. He offers something Martial cannot right now, or maybe something  Erik ten Hag  is willing to ʀɪsᴋ.

Another appealing aspect is his recent rate of fire. Weghorst netted nine times in his last 16 games for Besiktas, including six in his last eight.

Conversely, Martial has netted twice in nine competitive outings – not the kind of ratio needed as the main United striker.

Of course, the quality of league needs to be taken into account and actually Martial’s five goals having had just seven starts isn’t a bad return. But momentum is key and Weghorst has it, the World Cup – where he scored a further two goals – probably helping.

Weghorst also offers a notable asset that Martial hasn’t shown this season – aerial ability. The latter’s sole headed goal this campaign came against Manchester City when the hosts were already out of sight and he all but had an open goal from six yards following a ricochet.

Weghorst has netted four headers this season, including the goal that got the Netherlands back into the game against Argentina.

But the most eye-opening statistic is regarding aerial duels won this season: Martial 4-43 Weghorst. The 30-year-old offers a different ploy of tactic should Ten Hag need it, an almost Divock Origi-type asset.

His nodded flicks for the on-running Marcus Rashford and Antony could be utilised well. Martial will rightly still be the first-choice attacker Ten Hag goes to but Weghorst, although not the answer to United’s long-term striker need, might not just be a mere squad-filler.