Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd move for powerful €40m striker signing; journalist reveals clever Ten Hag plan to beat Arsenal to deal

Joshua Zirkzee Bologna

Joshua Zirkzee has been heavily linked with Man Utd

Manchester United have made telling strides towards the signing of Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee – with Erik ten Hag and Co already reaching out to his representatives in a bid to beat both Arsenal and Tottenham to a move.

The Red Devils have struggled in front of goal this season, with a lack of a regular goalscorer clearly having an impact on their season. While summer signing Rasmus Hojlund has shown flashes of his potential, Ten Hag has carefully had to manage his workload, while a lack of competition up front, coupled with a profligacy in front of goal, means Manchester United have managed only a lowly 24 goals in 21 games so far this season – the lowest by some distance of sides in the top half of the table.

Indeed, league leaders Liverpool have scored close to double United’s tally, offering a solid reason why United’s campaign has been one of bleak mediocrity so far.

Recognising those struggles, Ten Hag has been desperate to bring in a reinforcement to help his side out during the January transfer window.

Yet with just hours left for United to do some business, it looks highly unlikely that any new striker will arrive. That’s despite TEAMtalk sources revealing PSG have presented United, as well as a number of other Premier League clubs, with the chance to sign unwanted striker Hugo Ekitike on a loan deal.

Truth be told, any major United arrivals are likely to have to wait until the summer when both their FFP limits will have eased off and the club will benefit from a new cash injection provided by incoming new minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

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Man Utd make move to sign Joshua Zirkzee

One name who appears to be the subject of growing interest ahead of the summer window is Bologna striker Zirkzee.

The Netherlands U21 striker has made a real name for himself since departing Bayern Munich for Italy, scoring 10 times and adding two assists from 23 appearances this season. Averaging 2.6 shots per game this season, Zirkzee has proved a difficult opponent for Serie A defenders to try and shackle.

That form has seen a rise of Premier League clubs starting to take notice of his performances, with Arsenal and Tottenham among those to have been linked with a January approach.

However, with Sky Deutschland reporter Florian Plettenberg revealing the strongest interest of all has come from United, CBS reporter Ben Jacobs has now shared what he knows about United’s pursuit.

And speaking to Givemesport, he has revealed that officials for the Red Devils have already made contact with regards a summer swoop.

“Zirkzee is a really interesting one for the summer,” Jacobs stated. “Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are three to watch from the Premier League.

“Manchester United are the ones that have had some kind of formative approach, certainly on the player side. Arsenal and Spurs haven’t moved yet, but that may change in the summer.

“There is a release clause, and if Bologna are to be believed, it only applies to Bayern and is €40m [£34m].

“Bayern sources term a move to re-sign him as ‘unlikely but not impossible’. So they can’t yet be 100% discounted. And as I say, Bologna have said on record that the release clause only applies to Bayern.”

How much will Man Utd need to pay for Bologna striker?

Any deal for Zirkzee is understandably not going to be cheap.

However, Jacobs believes any starting fee for the player will begin at €30m and will likely top €40m (£34.7m) to convince Bologna to sell.

Explaining his asking price and why a summer move, rather than in January, looks more likely, Jacobs added: “So if we take them at their word, then the Premier League clubs are just going to have to use that €40m number as a yardstick, which means that he’ll be available in the market in the summer for a minimum of €30m-plus.

“There has been no formal approaches yet. Nothing will happen in January.”

Zirkzee certainly fits the profile of striker United are trying to attract under Ratcliffe. The new United supremo, who will be handed all sporting control at Old Trafford and overseeing all transfers dealings, wants to buy players in their younger years and oversee their development into their prime and one day, perhaps, selling them on for a profit.

The same business model has been applied at both Arsenal and Liverpool in recent years; now Ratcliffe wants the same approach at United.

Zirkzee certainly fits that category, and while he very much fits into that category of a player with huge potential, gone are the days of United spending vast sums to sign the big names who perhaps are already in the autumn of their careers.

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