Craig Burley slams Man Utd winter recruit with ‘prank’ call claim over ‘fish out of water’
ESPN pundit Craig Burley feels striker Wout Weghorst is in over his head at Manchester United and a poor winter signing by the club.
Weghorst, 30, was a surprise January recruit when he arrived on loan from Championship outfit Burnley. The Netherlands international spent the first half of the season on loan with Turkish club Besiktas. He scored eight goals from 16 Super Lig appearances having bagged only twice from 20 outings for the Clarets.
That loan was cancelled when United’s interest became clear but he has yet to make much of an impact at Old Trafford.
The former Wolfsburg hitman has been handed seven Premier League starts by Erik ten Hag. He has yet to find the net in the league but has scored in both the EFL Cup and Europa League.
Burley has not been impressed. And the ex-Chelsea midfielder believes Weghorst must have been pinching himself after getting the call.
“I’m not being rude to Wout Weghorst – I mean, I can be if you want,” he said on ESPN.
“But the boy’s had an opportunity and he’s got in there, and it’s a bit like [Odion] Ighalo when he came on loan from China.
“I bet when he phoned him up he thought it was a prank.”
Weghorst out of his depth
Ten Hag continues to put faith in the rangy frontman. He started the midweek 4-1 Europa League triumph over Real Betis.
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And the former AZ Alkmaar ace responded with the fourth goal to leave Manchester United on the brink of progression.
He has scored goals at most of his previous clubs, bagging 45 in 86 outings for AZ.
The Dutchman notched 70 from 144 appearances from Wolfsburg before stumbling at Turf Moor.
It seems likely he will return to Burnley when his United stint ends this summer. And Burley is convinced that Weghorst’s signing was rushed through due to the difficult circumstances at the club.
“It’s just one of those things where the Ronaldo situation was horrible – dealt with brilliantly, by the way, by club and manager – and they had to get somebody in,” he added.
“He [Ten Hag] knows him, but come on, he’s like a fish out of water in that United side.”
Ten Hag won’t be rushed on Wehgorst future
Ten Hag reportedly felt his compatriot could do a specific job at the Theatre of Dreams.
He was brought in for his ability to help with United’s press from the front. That was sadly lacking with Ronaldo in the ranks but he also needs to start finding the net.
Despite Burley’s criticism, Ten Hag has hinted that he might look to retain the striker’s services beyond the summer.
It seems inevitable that the Red Devils will look to sign a top-class striker in the off-season.
Weghorst does not fall into that category but could be a useful foil for any of the club’s front men.
United sit third and are seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool. A top-four finish seems likely and they will hope for all three points when Southampton come calling on Sunday.
Whether Weghorst plays any part only time will tell. But they will certainly be hoping for a better result than the 7-0 thrashing received at the hands of Liverpool last weekend.
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