Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd launch striker transfer hijack, with Ratcliffe able to smash agreed deal for two reasons

Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee

Manchester United aim to hijack AC Milan’s move for Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee and their interest is ‘advanced’, while two tantalising reasons why the Red Devils could actually pull off the steal have emerged.

Man Utd are seeking an addition at centre-forward who will lighten the load on Rasmus Hojlund and provide a different dynamic to the Dane.

United are casting their net far and wide, though for the time being are putting their eggs in the Zirkzee basket.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season with Bologna last year in which his 16 goal contributions in Serie A fired Bologna to Champions League qualification.

Zirkzee – who stands at 6ft 4in tall – would provide more of an out ball than Hojlund when Andre Onana goes long. The Dutchman is also more comfortable than Hojlund at dropping deep and linking up play.

According to the trusted David Ornstein, Man Utd are exploring a deal for Zirkzee who can be signed via a €40m/£34m release clause.

United are yet to speak with Bologna, though are in contact with Zirkzee’s camp. Per Ornstein, United’s interest is “advanced.”

Italian giant AC Milan are another club courting Zirkzee and they have already wrapped up an agreement on personal terms with the striker.

What’s more, Milan are fully prepared to activate the player’s release clause and Zirkzee was previously labelled “happy to stay in Italy and super keen on [the] AC Milan project” by Fabrizio Romano.

Nonetheless, Man Utd and new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe hope to smash Milan’s move and bring Zirkzee to Old Trafford.

Doing so looks difficult, though there are two critical reasons why a transfer hijack is possible.

Two reasons Man Utd can hijack Zirkzee transfer

Firstly, Zirkzee’s release clause does not become active until July 1. As such, Milan have not and cannot wrap up a club-to-club agreement with Bologna for another 13 days.

That gives Man Utd breathing room to fully explore the move and if they desire, to activate the clause at the same time as Milan when the calendar flips to July.

Secondly, while Fabrizio Romano has reaffirmed Milan have agreed personal terms with Zirkzee, they haven’t agreed how much the striker’s agent would receive in commission for engineering the move.

Reports in Italy claim agent Kia Joorabchian is seeking a whopping €15m to close the deal.

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As long as that aspect of the deal remains outstanding, the door will always remain ajar for Man Utd – or any other suitor – to pounce.

Nonetheless, when running the rule over Zirkzee’s future Romano declared that as of now, Milan still remain hot favourites to sign Zirkzee.

All eyes are now on whether Man Utd match Milan by agreeing personal terms with the frontman and then go one better by ironing out the commission with agent Joorabchian.

“Good chances” for Man Utd to hijack Milan move

One reporter who believes Man Utd stand a good chance of hijacking the move is Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg.

Taking to X late on Tuesday night, Plettenberg stated: “Been told that concrete talks between Man Utd and Joshua Zirkzee‘s top agent Kia Joorabchian have started!

“Zirkzee, a top target for the attack of Man Utd again and as revealed today – after a total agreement with AC Milan is not in sight at this stage.

“Understand, Man Utd with good chances to hijack the deal. Red Devils now working on a total verbal agreement. Open race. Ten Hag wants him.

“However, a deal with Milan is not out of the question.”

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