Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd make contact with agent of Dutch striker as first Ratcliffe signing explodes into life

Sir Jim Ratcliffe hopes to sign Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee for Manchester United

Sir Jim Ratcliffe hopes to sign Joshua Zirkzee for Man Utd

Manchester United have made a firm approach to the agent of Joshua Zirkzee with the Bologna striker now emerging as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s main striker target and with the costs around a proposed deal also becoming clear to TEAMtalk.

The British billionaire has got his feet firmly under the table at Carrington having finalised his £1.3bn purchase of 27.7% of the club’s shares from the Glazers in February in a deal that grants him full sporting control. After spending the first couple of months of his reign assembling a crack team of specialists behind the scenes aimed at turning Manchester United in a global super-power once again, Ratcliffe is now ready to turn his focus firmly towards the transfer market in what promises to be a hugely-exciting summer for the club.

To that end, TEAMtalk understands that Ratcliffe, following discussions with incoming sporting director Dan Ashworth and technical director Jason Wilcox, intends to make at four big-money signings to help transform the club’s fortunes next season.

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As a result, and while a number of players are also expected to leave in what is expected to be a high turnover of players, Ratcliffe and Co are ready to focus on strengthening in four priority positions: centre-half, central midfielder, a new striker and a right-sided attacker.

The quest to land a new No 9 is certainly an intriguing one with more support for the buccaneering Rasmus Hojlund very much needed.

Ratcliffe has already freed up space in his squad by waving farewell to the frustating and inconsistent Anthony Martial, who leaves after nine years at Old Trafford. His departure will see the club save £250,000 a week on wages alone.

Man Utd transfers: Ratcliffe is contact over Joshua Zirkzee deal

However, a double blow on Tuesday saw two transfer doors firmly shut in United’s face with moves for first Benjamin Sesko shut down by the player himself after he opted to stay at RB Leipzig and sign a new deal.

And then later in the day it emerged that Tottenham were now leading the race and were the preferred destination for Sevilla dangerman Youssef En-Nesyri.

All though is not lost and now sources have revealed to TEAMtalk that Ratcliffe has made his move to sign Bologna frontman Zirkzee in an effort to beat his fellow suitors AC Milan to his signature.

Indeed, sources in Italy have confirmed that the Serie A side will be powerless to prevent the Dutch striker’s exit this summer with the clause in his deal set at a modest €40m (£33.7m).

Understandably, that has attracted a plethora of attention with the likes of Arsenal and United among those linked with a move.

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Indeed, the striker’s agent – the well-regarded Kia Joorabchian, is due for talks with Milan over the next few days as the Rossoneri explore a potential deal.

The Serie A giants are desperate to bring in a new striker themselves and have also considered a move for Santiago Gimenez of Feyenoord and Girona’s Artem Dovbyk as replacements for veteran Frenchman Oliver Giroud, who has left the club and is expected to seal a move to Los Angeles FC, where he will hook up with former international teammate Hugo Lloris.

Zirkzee transfer demands revealed

However, TEAMtalk’s transfer correspondent Fraser Gillan can confirm that United chiefs have now made clear to Joorabchian that they are more than willing to meet the buyout clause in his deal with the striker now becoming the club’s primary striker target this summer.

United should have no trouble meeting the player’s wage demands – set to be around £100,000 a week over a four or five year deal – though any deal is complicated somewhat by the fact that his agent is looking for between €10m to €15m commission to complete the transfer.

Zirkzee showed his qualities by scoring 12 goals and adding four assists from 37 games this season as Bologna qualified for the Champions League.

However, with coach Thiago Motta also likely to be lured away – the former Italy international is a target for Juventus – they are also now also preparing for the loss of their talismanic striker too.