Weghorst back to Man Utd? Ten Hag's contingency if Hojlund deal fails

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 20 Jul 2023 06:58 BST
  • 4 min read
Rasmus Hojlund, Wout Weghorst, Man Utd
© ProShots

Manchester United are beginning to fear that they will not be able to agree a transfer fee with Atalanta over striker Rasmus Hojlund and have begun looking at alternative options, according to a report from ESPN.

Among the options who could be considered is Wout Weghorst, who failed to score in the Premier League for the Red Devils after joining on loan from Burnley in the second half of last season.

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Manager Erik ten Hag is known to want to add a striker to his squad this summer, with the Man Utd boss still looking for a No.9 to replace Cristiano Ronaldo on a permanent basis after Weghorst offered only a stop-gap solution in the second half of 2022/23.

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And 20-year-old Hojlund appeared the frontrunner to be that man after scoring nine goals in Serie A for Atalanta last season.

Negotiations with the Italian club have not gone smoothly, though. United are trying to drive down their asking price of €70 million (£60m) plus bonuses down, but as Hojlund is under contract until 2027, the balance of power in these talks is with Atalanta.

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Wout Weghorst
© ProShots - Wout Weghorst

Weghorst to make sensational Man Utd return?

As such, ESPN reports that Man Utd are starting to explore other options in what is being described as a “contingency plan”, with Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo-Muani the player they are primarily chasing. He previously had a €100m price tag put on his head, making him unattainable for the Red Devils in their current financial state. There had been hints this price could come down, though.

The Sun has suggested some alternatives, including Weghorst, who Ten Hag praised for his industry during his time with the club previously but who frustrated supporters with his inefficiency in front of goal.

He is certainly a player in Man Utd’s wheelhouse having joined the club last season but he is unlikely to be a player the fans will be happy about returning as the transfer budget is squeezed because of the Glazers’ stalling over the club’s takeover.

There are some familiar faces among this five-player list, which is led by Tottenham striker Harry Kane as well as Kolo-Muani.

But United have already been priced out of a move for this pair previously, making a deal seem improbable. Similarly, Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix is cited, but at least the Portugal international is pushing to leave the Spanish capital, having admitted he dreams of Barcelona.

Porto forward Mehdi Taremi is the lower-cost option that is being considered. Curiously, Dusan Tadic is cited but has already signed for Fenerbahce, making a move to Man Utd impossible.

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