Weghorst v Wood: a Tale of Two Target Men, But Who is Better?

Ben Wylie

Who is Wout Weghorst?

At 29, Wout Weghorst has been around the block, although, outside of Germany, he has never been a household name.

For the last three-and-a-half seasons, the Dutchman has plied his trade at Wolfsburg helping the German side achieve European football, and last season Champions League qualification, in his last two years at the club. Weghorst has been a consistent goal scorer throughout his career, finding the net 90 times in 225 appearances for FC Emmen, Heracles Almelo, and AZ Alkmaar before making the switch to Germany.

Wolfsburg signed him for £9.5m, and 92 goal contributions and 144 games later, this turned out to be a steal considering they have even made a small profit in his switch to Turf Moor. At 6ft 6, Weghorst profiles as the exact kind of player Dyche would want to replace Chris Wood, as given Burnely’s no-nonsense style and tendency to lump balls into the box, the Dutchman will have a height advantage against most defenders he will face aligning directly with Burnley's on-pitch philosophy.

In fact, he is now, by a distance, the tallest Premier League forward currently active and one of the tallest in history, with only a few names like Peter Crouch and Nikola Zigic able to tower over him. Weghorst also arrives in good pedigree given his experience of high-level European football, with the forward even being capped by the Netherlands 12 times, scoring twice for the Dutch and featuring in all four games at Euro 2020.

Wood v Weghorst

When looking to replace Wood, what Burnely need above all is consistency, as the Kiwi is the Clarets' all-time top Premier League scorer with 49 goals, finishing as the club's league top scorer in three of his four seasons at Turf Moor. Wood had the ability to thrive on little service, with Burnley’s famed 'park the bus' approach often seeing their forward players isolated with few touches of the ball. This didn’t stop Wood from capitalising on the chances that came his way, as the forward scored 10, 10, 14, and 12 goals in his four full seasons, respectively. However, he had found the net just three times this season before his switch to Newcastle.

Comparing Weghorst, the forward has been a reliable threat for Wolfsburg during his time in Germany, scoring 17, 16, and 20 goals in each of his three full seasons, respectively, which is considerably better than Wood but albeit, in a different - perhaps inferior -league. This season, despite playing for a struggling Wolfsburg outfit, perhaps more akin to that of the Burnley side he has joined, Weghorst has still managed six league goals and an assist showing he is a threat even when his side have generally been second best.

When looking at one another side by side, numbers suggest that in signing the tall Dutchman, Dyche has found the serial goalscorer his side need to give themselves a chance to beat the drop. Fans at Turf Moor will be hopeful that Weghorst adjusts quickly to life in England because as we’ve seen with the likes of Jadon Sancho, making the leap from Bundesliga to Premier League isn’t always easy.

Only time will tell if Weghorst is a success at Turf Moor, however, he certainly fits the void left by Wood and given his recent numbers, if Dyche can get him firing, fans may end up thankful that Newcastle took the plunge on Wood.

Who has really won this deal?

If it weren’t for the £25m buy-out clause in Woods contract, Newcastle would likely have never landed their man as we struggle to see Dyche sanctioning a January move for his go-to target man amid a relegation battle. Out of context, £25m for a 30-year-old Chris Wood from a Burnley perspective sounds too good to turn down, however, in losing him to a relegation rival, they see themselves weakened and Newcastle strengthened simultaneously.

In our eyes, Burnley have signed a near-perfect replacement to Wood at just half the price, with the only drawback to Weghorst being no Premier League experience, however, his superior numbers over recent years help erase this black mark from his name.

Clarets fans will be eager to see their new forward in action with Weghorst likely to be straight in the upcoming must-win games. As of now, we can’t help but feel Burnley may have come out on top of this deal, considering they have signed a clinical goal scorer with Champions League experience and pocketing a cool £12m in the process.

Ultimately, if one of these sides beats the drop ahead of the other, they will really have 'won' this deal, as the benefits of staying in the Premier League far outweigh any profit or loss made this January. There is no possible way to judge this now, but we hope the additions of both Chris Wood and Wout Weghorst add to what is already shaping up to be a thrilling relegation battle as neither forward will have moved with the view of playing Championship football next season.


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