Wout Weghorst isn't good enough for Man Utd and never will be - Erik ten Hag cannot sanction his permanent signing

Wout Weghorst Manchester United 2023
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The United boss keeps on giving his compatriot praise and chances to prove himself, but he's not taking them - he can't remain at the club next season

The Premier League is constantly changing week to week, whether it is managers being sacked, players making triumphant returns from injury or ending six-month goal droughts. But some things stay the same, such as Wout Weghorst starting yet another match for Manchester United and doing absolutely nothing of note in it.

In Sunday's miserable 2-0 defeat by Newcastle, yet another awful away performance by United against a top side, the Dutchman had just 10 touches, only two of which were inside Newcastle's area.

He had one shot, which he failed to get on target.

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His performances are becoming a joke. Or, as Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp put it, a "nightmare".

One thing is for certain: the Weghorst experiment cannot continue beyond this season, and the club should not allow Erik ten Hag to sign the striker on a permanent deal, as he hinted he could last week.

  1. Bad off the ball, worse on it
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    Bad off the ball, worse on it

    Erik ten Hag keeps defending Weghorst for his work rate and his pressing, saying ahead of the Newcastle game: "He is doing a really good job for us in pressing, so he is the leader of the process in pressing. He starts the press and he is very good in the backward pressing."

    But the striker's off-the-ball efforts were ineffectual at St James' Park and could not prevent Newcastle utterly outplaying United in both halves, ending the game with 22 shots to the visitors' six.

    And when United needed to provide a threat down the other end, the manager hauled off Weghorst for Anthony Martial, who might have grabbed an equaliser if it were not for an expert block by Fabian Schar.

    Just as against Liverpool, Barcelona, and Arsenal, Weghorst failed to trouble Newcastle's defence or create chances for his team-mates.

    He has barely fared better against weaker opponents, drawing blanks against Leicester, Leeds (twice), Crystal Palace, Southampton and Reading.

  2. Shockingly bad output
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    Shockingly bad output

    In three months since joining United on loan from Burnley, Weghorst has started all 19 matches.

    Yet even though he is getting consistent opportunities in a team that is performing well in all competitions, he has only managed to score twice - both in cup competitions - and provide three assists.

    Regardless of his work-rate and link-up play, that is a shockingly bad output for a Manchester United striker.

    Despite playing considerably fewer minutes than him, the likes of Alejandro Garnacho, Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Martial have all scored more goals this season.

    Work-rate can make up for a lack of skill in positions such as holding midfield or defence, but not for a centre-forward at a club like Manchester United.

  3. 'Not good enough for Manchester United'

    'Not good enough for Manchester United'

    Weghorst was not the biggest culprit in Sunday's defeat, but after the game his name was instantly cited by the Sky Sports pundits as being one of the reasons why United are far from the finished article, despite all the progress they have made under Ten Hag.

    "Weghorst is not good enough," said Redknapp. "If Manchester United want to be competing for titles they need a top striker. Manchester United will need to do a lot of work in recruitment in the next window if they want to compete. They are short."

    Gary Neville tried to take a more diplomatic approach than his colleague, praising the striker's efforts.

    "I don't blame Weghorst. He's doing a really good job, he's a placeholder for Manchester United and Erik ten Hag, he's doing everything he can out there on the pitch."

    But he ultimately arrived at the same conclusion: "He obviously isn't good enough to be a Manchester United number nine. You cannot play without a centre forward, he doesn't always play well."

  4. A placeholder, not a long-term solution

    A placeholder, not a long-term solution

    Neville's use of the word "placeholder" to describe Weghorst was telling.

    The 30-year-old was an emergency signing in January after Ronaldo's departure left Martial, who is terribly injury-prone, as United's only centre-forward.

    Most fans, who had just seen Weghorst's impact for the Netherlands off the bench against Argentina in the World Cup, thought he had been signed as an impact substitute who would start the occasional game.

    They did not expect him to start every single match, and they certainly did not view him as a long-term solution.

    But it seems as if Ten Hag does. No matter how badly Weghorst plays, he continues to pick him, and his suggestion he could sign him on a permanent deal set alarm bells ringing among the fanbase.

  5. Competing with their rivals

    Competing with their rivals

    Giving a permanent contract to Weghorst, even if United could negotiate a low fee for him from Burnley, would effectively be rewarding failure.

    It would send out a signal that mediocrity is acceptable at Manchester United; that an ability to create and finish chances is not a prerequisite to play for England's most successful club.

    Just look at the centre-forwards United's rivals have by comparison.

    Manchester City have Erling Haaland, who scores for fun, and backing him up they have World Cup-winning star Julian Alvarez, who averages a goal every 137 minutes.

    Arsenal have serial Premier League title winner and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus, while Tottenham have Harry Kane and Richarlison as back-up.

    United may have one of the best forwards in the world in Marcus Rashford, but they cannot afford to have such lacklustre options up front if they want to compete for the Premier League title any time soon.