Avoid Weghorst 2.0! The easy transfer mistake Ratcliffe must dodge

Wout Weghorst, Man Utd, 2022/23

Manchester United face a major rebuilding job during the summer transfer window, with numerous areas of the squad set for surgery as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS group finally get hold of the Old Trafford team.

It is a job that will have to be completed delicately due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, yet equally it is something that cannot be done on the cheap.

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Ratcliffe and his right-hand man Sir Dave Brailsford will search for value in the transfer market and not just shiny opportunities to please the fans.

To that end, Man Utd have to avoid the temptation of signing a player who could prove to be the second coming of Wout Weghorst at Old Trafford.

United have been linked with Serhou Guirassy of Stuttgart for several weeks, with Fabrizio Romano confirming that the striker will have a release clause of just €17.5 million active in the summer.

But this is where the Red Devils need to look at the big picture.

Guirassy is scoring goals this season in the Bundesliga – 17 of them have come in 14 matches – yet for a player who will turn 28 in March, this represents well over a quarter of the top-flight goals he has scored in his career.

This is a purple patch for the Guinea international rather than a long-term trend that can be banked upon. Last term, for example, he scored a more modest 11 goals.

United were previously tempted by a career-bucking run of form from Weghorst, who had eight in 16 Super Lig matches before Erik ten Hag lured him away from Besiktas. There were extenuating circumstances in this deal, namely that the Red Devils had been pressed into making an unexpected move following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and had to seek someone out in the loan market.

Now they have time to formulate a long-term plan, so desperately pitching €17.5m on the table to secure a journeyman striker on a hot streak seems an unlikely strategy.

Guirassy in a purple patch

Guirassy, after all, is no better than a Weghorst. Data analytics firm SciSports show the similarities in the pair, who have been playing in a similar fashion this season.

The two are pegged around the same level, with the African striker given an Estimated Transfer Value of just €8.5 million – notably below his release fee. This figure is reached using an algorithm based upon hundreds of in-game data points as well as external factors such as the player’s age and contract length.

Weghorst vs Guirassy
© SciSports – Weghorst vs Guirassy

United will have to pay significantly for the more expensive players on the market – Inter’s Lautaro Martinez, Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Bayer Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface are among the stars SciSports sees as similar in style to Guirassy but far stronger.

In the long run, though, this will be worth it.

Man Utd may want to buy smarter in the Ratcliffe era, but rarely will they get away with shopping in the bargain basement – and Guirassy is a prime example of this.

Source From: Football Transfer News Archive including Premier League & La Liga

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