So far during his six-month stint as Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag has done little wrong.
From smart business in the transfer market to helping previously under-performing players re-find their mojo, it has been a fulfilling journey so far.
The team are on course to fulfill all the aims decided upon prior to the start of the season. And that is exactly why the club and the fans should trust the Dutchman’s judgement.
Rumoured January target Wout Weghorst is not the name most supporters were hoping for when the club announced plans to recruit a goalscorer on a temporary basis.
Weghorst failed at Burnley because of their tactics
Despite an underwhelming campaign in England for Burnley last season, the Dutch striker remains deadly in front of goal as can be seen from his current loan spell in Turkey.
He has scored nine goals in 18 games and his ill-fated spell at Turf Moor was more to do with Burnley’s route one tactics than his own lacklustre displays.
The surprising stat that could be driving Man United’s move for Wout Weghorst pic.twitter.com/rdKQTeiNRH
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) January 9, 2023
As pointed out by James Ducker in his piece for The Daily Telegraph, “With his 6ft 6in frame, the logical conclusion to draw when Burnley signed Weghorst from Wolfsburg for £12 million on deadline day last January was that this was a like-for-like replacement for Chris Wood, who had left for Newcastle.”
But his strengths lie elsewhere as pointed out in the article. His impressive goalscoring record for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga was not only because he was target man.
His technical skills, ability to drop deep and link-up play and bring others into the game came in for a lot of praise, but those were not skills that Sean Dyche had bought him for.
If he does successfully complete a move to Old Trafford, Ten Hag can use him as the perfect foil for speedy runners like Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Antony.
“Despite his size, he often struggled in the air for Burnley, winning just over 40 per cent of his aerial duels, which ranked him a lowly 48th out of 58 players who contested at least 100 such duels,” the report mentioned.
Weghorst’s technical skills analysed
Weghorst is not the ideal winner of aerial duels kind of striker like Woods was. But when aimed correctly, he can time his run to perfection to get the telling touch.
And his biggest strength, something Ten Hag will have looked at and been impressed with, is his hard-working nature and relentless running ability.
The 30-year-old prides himself on his fantastic fitness levels and during his Wolfsburg days, he was “regularly topping the statistics for distance covered, and even during his Burnley struggles his high intensity running and work off the ball stood out.”
“The Dutchman, for example, was fourth in the Premier League for pressures per 90 minutes last term, despite only joining in mid-season.”
In fact, United fans will remember how his pressing and running and eventual pass allowed Jay Rodriguez to equalise last season.
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