It looks like Erik ten Hag is about to complete his eighth signing for Manchester United as Burnley FC striker Wout Weghorst has reportedly agreed terms to join on loan until the end of the season.
The Dutchman was already loaned out to Turkish side Beşiktaş after joining the Lancashire club back in January 2022, scoring just two goals and three assists in 20 appearances for the Clarets.
Nevertheless, since flying east following Burnley’s relegation back to the Championship in his debut season, Weghorst has grabbed eight goals and four assists in 16 games and also bagged an important brace to take the Netherlands to penalties in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals.
Enjoying a much improved season on loan and following his late heroics in Qatar, the six-foot-six forward’s stock has risen and given the obvious Dutch connection, clearly caught ten Hag’s eye. As always, leading transfer source Fabrizio Romano was one of the first to break the news.
According to The Athletic, the Red Devils have secured the former Bundesliga and Burnley striker’s services after paying a £2.5 million termination fee to release him from his existing loan contract with Beşiktaş.
Said to be flying to Manchester today, though unlikely, the question is now whether he will be registered in time for the Manchester derby.
On the other hand, many have questioned whether signing another striker on the wrong side of 30, not to mention having struggled to prove himself in the Premier League, is the right move in the market.
Speaking to BBC Sport, former first-team coach and scout René Meulensteen said of Weghorst: “He is different, that is why Erik ten Hag is bringing him in.”
He offers something else that the other Manchester United forwards don’t have – but I don’t think he will be a starter every game”, according to Meulensteen, adding that believes “ten Hag knows what he is doing, for sure”.
While Weghorst will clearly be a short-term stop-gap who will be utilised as a more old-school, big centre-forward, United will obviously be looking to bring in further names in attacking positions as well as the other areas that suit the bigger picture.
However, former right-back Gary Neville believes that ten Hag’s apparent new salary cap could jeopardise the club’s chances when it comes to going after their primary targets.
Should the deal cross the line, will Weghorst end up being a revelatory signing for United, a flat-track bully, or just a flop altogether?
An official Guinness Fan Zone is coming to Manchester for the Six Nations
One of the biggest Guinness Fan Zones in the UK is coming to Manchester city centre for the Six Nations this February and the best part of all is, it’s absolutely free.
With the beloved rugby union tournament kicking off on Saturday, 4 February, Guinness are bringing their popular fan zone to our lovely city and just in time for the Wales vs Ireland game, not to mention England vs Scotland later the same day.
Popping up on Baring Street, Mayfield, just round the corner from Piccadilly Station, the Six Nations fan zone will be the biggest outside of London and runs all the way until Saturday 18 March.
Transformed into a dedicated space for rugby lovers to watch the match and enjoy a fresh pint of ice-cold Guinness, the fan zone festivities don’t stop there.
To keep the party rolling, they will also be hosting a series of interactive shows, activities and live performances, including bagpipes, Irish dancers and more. There’s even an interactive beer wall – the first one to be available outside of rugby union’s historic home at Twickenham.
Once again, general admissions tickets to the fan zone are absolutely free, but you can bag yourself a table reservation for £10 per person. Better still, for super fans, you can even grab an exclusive Season Pass for a limited time only, granting you access to all five games in the competition.
This includes a special edition team jersey, access to the best seats in the house and the first 150 customers will also get a Guinness Six Nations tote bag filled with beanies, cushions and foam fingers, even temporary tattoos and face paints for you to get your full colours on.
Last but not least, those who do grab a Season Pass will also be in with a chance to win one of Guinness’ exclusive ‘Money Can’t Buy Experiences‘, this year’s main prize being four tickets to a Six Nations match, a dressing room tour and being trusted with flag bearer duty before kick-off. Mint.
Russian supporters waving Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols questioned by police at Australian Open
A number of Russian supporters attending the Australian Open were spotted waving pro-Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols during Novak Djokovic’s match on Wednesday evening.
Spotted in the crowd whilst watching Djokovic’s quarter-final tie against Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, the group of fans cheering on Rublev are now said to have been questioned by local police following the stunt as a further investigation is expected to be carried out.
The nine-time tournament winner might have seen off the world number six seed in straight sets to progress to the penultimate round of the major, but the controversy that the pro-war display has caused is understandably all anyone can focus on.
You can see a significant number of Russian fans chanting “Putin!” with their flags in the stands below, as well as another man clearly flaunting the ‘Z’ symbol — synonymous with the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a statement issued by Tennis Australia, four men were questioned by local authorities in Melbourne after they revealed their pro-Putin emblems and reportedly threatened security guards inside the Rod Laver Arena then they were asked to remove them.
Victoria Police have now confirmed that while charges were made, the group of supporters were quickly ejected, with Australian Open organisers reassuring that they will “continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
To make matters worse, Djokovic’s father, Srđan, was later seen posing with what appears to be the same group of fans and images of Vladimir Putin outside the stadium.
The Serbian has not long put his own controversy behind him after being deported from the country due to covid regulations and his anti-vax stance last year. This surely won’t help.
The Russian invasion has been an ongoing issue at the Open, with Russian and Belarusian players now having to compete under a neutral flag.
This comes after spectators had initially been allowed to bring any flag into the arena with them. However, following the incident, certain Russian flags are now prohibited and security guards have been provided with pamphlets in order for them to check for approved national emblems.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was both surprised and relieved to find out that Germany has confirmed they will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to bolster his country’s defences, which he only learned whilst in the middle of an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley.
We are now approaching a year since the Russian invasion began, with Putin’s campaign having run for 11 months and 3 days.