Wout Weghorst has unfinished business with the Premier League - and Burnley
Striker Wout Weghorst insists he will not play in the Championship for Burnley in a World Cup year.
It was a dream come true when the 29-year-old got the chance to play in the English top flight, signing for £12m from Wolfsburg on deadline day, as he said in February: “I really wanted to play in England. That’s how I once planned it.
“The Premier League is the strongest league there is, and as a little boy, I already dreamed of playing there one day.”
However, that dream turned sour as the Clarets were relegated on the final day of the season, with Weghorst left out of the side for the last three games.
He ended up with just two goals in 20 appearances, and, with the World Cup in Qatar in November and December, Weghorst wants to play in a higher level than the Championship, with Turkish Superlig side Besiktas pushing hard for his signature on loan.
Weghorst has three years remaining on his Burnley contract, however, and with Besiktas only likely to want a loan with an option to buy, rather than an obligation, he may yet return to Turf Moor.
Speaking after scoring an injury time winner for the Netherlands in the Nations League against Wales in Cardiff – where he squared up to Clarets teammate Connor Roberts after the final whistle – Weghorst was asked about his future, and whether he might stay in the Premier League: “Yes it would be good for all of us.“It was really disappointing and unlucky Burnley couldn’t make it.“My future won’t be next year in Burnley.“I won’t go into the Championship - not that I feel too good for it, absolutely not.“I am just really ambitious and also for the squad of the national team.“The trainer wants us to play at a high level.“There are some options for me and just a higher potential of a league than the Championship.“I have to take the chances offered there.“We will see what the future will bring.”
He doesn’t rule out staying in England if any offers transpire: “Yeah, maybe it could be a loan or still be a buy.“And on the other side, I didn’t make the move to Burnley believing in the whole concept with the American owners for just a half year.“I could see the bigger picture, but we will see what the future brings.“For me, I have got the feeling I am not done or really that successful in the Premier League.“I spoke with Burnley, I have a really good relationship with the owner from the beginning and still.“I was believing in a different kind of thing.“They still see a big role for me, and now for the Championship it is still possible.“I really hope they will return directly to the Premier League, and let’s see what the future brings.”
Sean Dyche spoke highly of Weghorst after his signing, saying in his final press conference a day before he parted ways with the club in April: “I think – and it is a positive, but it is a strange thing to mention – Wout is almost too team-bound at the minute.
“We need to get him to focus on him and his game.
"He is almost thinking of everything and ‘I need to do this for the team, this for the team’, and in an honest, authentic way because that is the type of character he is.
“But maybe it is almost like ‘Okay, stop, standstill – we need to focus on your game and how you can bring yourself to work with the team.’
"I think he is still adjusting to that.”
And Weghorst looked back on Dyche’s departure: “Of course you think about it and consider everything in your head.“When that happened in that moment, we were not playing good or well.“Then after a really good start (under Mike Jackson), we picked up some bad results.”
Despite his poor form with Burnley, after a promising start, Weghorst claimed his third international goal in 13 appearances against Wales, showing good movement to hold his position in the box before heading home a cross, and he added: “I am just a striker who needs the balls around the box.
"It was a good attack from our side. Frenkie (de Jong) with his qualities, he actually crossed the whole pitch. It was a good cross, I stepped out a little bit and could dive into it.”