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United close to acquiring striker Wout Weghorst

FILE - In this March 1, 2022 file photo, Leicester's Caglar Soyuncu and Burnley's Wout Weghorst fight for the ball at Turf Moon Stadium.  On Friday, January 13, 2023, Weghorst is close to joining Manchester United on loan.  (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
FILE – In this March 1, 2022 file photo, Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu and Burnley’s Wout Weghorst fight for the ball at Turf Moon Stadium. On Friday, January 13, 2023, Weghorst is close to joining Manchester United on loan. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United are close to signing Dutch striker Wout Weghorst to help fill the void left by the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Weghorst is set to join Burnley on loan until the end of the season, but will not be eligible to face Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

“I think we’re close… he won’t be available tomorrow,” coach Erik ten Hag admitted at a news conference on Friday.

Weghorst, who was on loan with Turkey’s Besiktas, is a surprising replacement for Cristiano. The star and United ended his contract in November after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticized Ten Hag and the club’s owners.

Cristiano signed with Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia.

Ten Hag has been looking to cover attacking and improve the team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League and chasing a trophy in his first year in charge.

Cristiano’s departure left United with just two veteran strikers Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Weghorst played in the World Cup in Qatar with the Netherlands and scored two goals in the dramatic quarterfinal match against Argentina. He scored two late goals to send the game into extra time and Argentina won 4-3 on penalties.

Weghorst, 30, has eight goals this season for Besiktas, including two in his last three games.

Weghorst joined Burnley for $15 million from German club Wolfsburg in January of last year. He only had two goals in 20 games and Burnley were relegated.

United were linked with a possible acquisition of Cody Gapko this month, but the Dutch striker has joined Liverpool.

Ten Gag is expected to look for a long-term replacement in the summer and Harry Kane could be a possibility.

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