Inside Europe – Disbelief! But even Lionel Messi has to respect Manchester United signing Wout Weghorst

Eurosport experts from Netherlands and Germany reacted with shock and no little admiration after Manchester United confirmed the loan signing of Wout Weghorst.

The 30-year-old Netherlands international striker arrived on loan from Burnley, via Besiktas, for the rest of the season after the departure of Cristiano Ronado before the World Cup.

There is a stark contrast between the pair in terms of reputation and achievements, but while Marc Hlusiak of Eurosport Germany is less optimistic over the striker, Kevin van Nunen at Eurosport Netherlands thinks that there is at least a shared quality of hard work and application.

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Hlusiak told us of the move: “It comes as a surprise that Weghorst is now being linked with a club as big as Manchester United. He had two good years and one very good year at VfL Wolfsburg in terms of goals.

However, he was never really outstanding in terms of play.

“Whether that’s enough for Manchester United’s claims is hard to believe. He’s not really well regarded.”

Van Nunen was also surprised when the news broke, saying: “At first, there was disbelief. As always when Weghorst makes a transfer. He worked his way up from the grass roots, amateur level to the top of the world, but along every step in his career, there was disbelief at first.

“Weghorst at AZ? What a joke… Weghorst in the Dutch squad? No way! Weghorst to Wolfsburg? How is that possible? Weghorst to Burnley? Okay… Bestiktas? Makes some sense, good luck in Turkey.

But now, Weghorst to Man Utd? Lots of disbelief!

However Van Nunen sees the pragmatic side of the deal.

He added: “United needs a striker, but is on a budget, and Weghorst has surprised so many times already in his career, why not again? He isn’t a big-money transfer. He is brought in to solve a problem. If it does n’t work out, he’s gone again in the summer and a better striker will take his place than him.

“The longer people can get used to Weghorst in a Man United shirt, the more the disbelief disappears. There is a lot of respect for his work ethic and what he has achieved as he really is not the most gifted striker in terms of pure talent.

“Weghorst will get a very specific task, I think, and how to make best use of him was shown already at the World Cup by Louis van Gaal. When there is an emergency, substitute Weghorst on! Or when a striker is injured, play Weghorst. The scale of the emergency will vary, but Weghorst could provide a solid answer.”

Van Nunen had another word of caution, saying his attitude – already an issue for some given his coronavirus vaccination skepticism – can rub up team-mates the wrong way.

“As much as Weghorst has a very good work ethic – he will run through a wall if asked, maybe even without asking! – he can work on the nerves of his team-mates,” he said.

“Some team-mates thought he was a show off, some of his first managers back at amateur level didn’t believe he would succeed or even be a professional player.

“This could cause a problem. As we have seen with the coming together between Weghorst and Connor Roberts (former team-mates at Burnley)… he can leave his marks on other players from his team. He also isn’t afraid to speak up when he thinks a team-mate lacks the determination he himself has so much.

“The way he wanted to speak with Lionel Messi after Netherlands – Argentina paints exactly this picture. You can love or hate Weghorst, but you have to admire his mentality. Even Messi should.”

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