Under-fire Man Utd star insists summer move can happen, but unpopular Ten Hag compromise is required
A much-criticised Man Utd star has kept the door open to a summer move that if the comments of Rio Ferdinand are anything to go by, would go down like a lead balloon in the Old Trafford dressing room.
The Red Devils were content to sanction just a trio of cheep and cheerful loan signings in January. Jack Butland arrived from Crystal Palace to replace Martin Dubravka who had been recalled six months early by Newcastle.
Elsewhere, Marcel Sabitzer joined from Bayern Munich on deadline day. The Austrian’s move was a last-gasp affair that would otherwise have been ignored had Christian Eriksen not suffered an ankle injury late into the month.
Finally, Wout Weghorst arrived from Burnley after an agreement was struck to prematurely terminate his loan spell at Besiktas.
Sabitzer has unquestionably been the standout of the three, while Butland is yet to make his debut. Weghorst, meanwhile, has come in for stinging criticism after falling short in front of goal.
The Dutchman has scored just two goals and provided three assists in 27 appearances for Man Utd. He’s occasionally been deployed as an unorthodox No 10, something that United legend Rio Ferdinand thinks will be angering Weghorst’s teammates.
Speaking after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham, Ferdinand told BT Sport: “I just think Man Utd’s No 10, a top team’s No 10 doesn’t look like a Weghorst in my eyes. The attributes that he’s got.
“Let’s look at it another way, if I’m Sancho, Bruno, Garnacho, Martial and I’m sitting there watching him line-up as a No 10 in front of me, the No 10 shirt means something else.
“It’s a player that can create, has got guile, can get between the lines and get on the half turn and bring other people into play in that sense and get goals.
“He doesn’t offer all those things I’ve just said there… I think his best piece of play today was a tackle in his own box. That’s a No 10, that’s not what No 10s are known for doing.”
Man Utd “appreciate my value” – Weghorst
Weghorst’s loan spell does not contain an option to buy. As such, any permanent move would have to be negotiated from scratch.
All the signs are pointing towards Man Utd opting against bringing Weghorst back on a permanent basis. However, when speaking to The Times, Weghorst insisted the club have not told him it’s game over this summer.
Furthermore, the 30-year-old declared the club believe he is “absolutely an asset” to the team and that he’s held in high regard.
However, despite leaving the door ajar to a permanent move, Weghorst claimed he first needs to know what his role would be moving forward. In other words, he’ll snub Man Utd if made aware he’ll be little more than a squad player.
Given his lack of output and the fact Man Utd are chasing an elite-level striker in the market, the chances of Weghorst being a regular starter are virtually nil.
“In those [talks] the club said they are very satisfied with me,” said Weghorst. “It has absolutely not been communicated with me that Man United don’t want to continue with me.
“They appreciate my value. They believe I am absolutely an asset for the team.
“Of course I have heard different things [in the media]. I have to wait and see what happens and focus on our goals in the league and cup competitions.”
The Dutchman continued: “I’m a guy who likes to play football. When your appearances are reduced, as has been the case lately, you realise what you are missing.
“If the club wants to keep me, I’ll have to know what role they have in mind for me.”
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