Manchester United are closing in on the shock signing of giant Dutchman Wout Weghorst, the striker who infuriated Lionel Messi at the 2022 World Cup.
So what happened?
Well, in the quarter-final clash between Argentina and Netherlands, the South Americans appeared to be cruising into the semi-finals.
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They were leading 2-0 when Weghorst was introduced as a substitute by Holland coach Louis van Gaal with 12 minutes to go.
The Netherlands desperately pumped long balls forward to the 6ft 5in Weghorst, who inspired a dramatic late comeback.
He scored in the 83rd minute and then equalised 11 minutes into stoppage time to force extra time and then penalties, which Argentina prevailed in.
After the game, there were a number of flashpoints. As soon as Lautaro Martinez fired home the winning penalty, Argentina’s players celebrated in the faces of Holland’s players on the half-way line. This led to a number of altercations in which Denzel Dumfries was sent off.
Messi went over to the Holland bench to celebrate in front of them before an angry post-match interview.
“I feel disrespected by Van Gaal after his pre-game comments and some Dutch players spoke too much during the game,” the Argentine blasted.
Messi vs Weghorst: What happened at World Cup?
Messi was also critical of Holland’s long balls to Weghorst.
“Van Gaal says that they play good football, but what he did was put on tall people and hit long balls,” Messi stated.
Messi also clashed with Weghorst in the tunnel after the game, with Leo repeatedly shouting: ‘’Anda Palla, Bobo”, which translated to ‘Keep moving, idiot!’
Lionel Messi to Wout Weghorst after the match: “What are you looking at, dumby? Go back there, dumby. Get back there, yes!” 😨pic.twitter.com/LaJlIgpaRy
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) December 10, 2022
Messi also reportedly refused Weghorst’s offer of a handshake after the game.
“I always give everything and I did the same in the quarter-final,” Weghorst said of the clash to De Telegraaf.
“I fought against Messi and there were a few moments between us. I think he didn’t like it and that it surprised him.
But I have a lot of respect for him. He is among the greatest of all time.
“I wanted to show my respect for Messi after the game, but he didn’t want it.
“I think he was still angry with me. Oh well, I see it as a great compliment that he knows my name now. Then at least I did something right.”
Man Utd closing in on Weghorst
Man Utd are in talks with Weghorst’s parent club Burnley over a January transfer of a player who is currently on a season-long loan at Besiktas.
Weghorst has made it clear he wants to make the move to Man Utd and has asked Besiktas to terminate his loan deal.
Weghorst: “I wanted to show my respect for Messi after the game, but he didn’t want it. I think he was still angry with me. Oh well, I see it as a great compliment that he knows my name now. Then at least I did something right.” [@telegraaf] pic.twitter.com/Bg8B4wutna
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) December 22, 2022
Man Utd have made the signing of a new striker their priority in the January transfer window following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo saw his contract at Old Trafford rescinded in November following a controversial interview with Piers Morgan in which he slammed multiple figures at the club, including the owners and manager Erik ten Hag.
Weghorst represents a cheap option for Man Utd, who did not want to spend big money in the January transfer window.
The 30-year-old has scored nine goals in 18 games in all competitions this season for Besiktas.