Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd to activate striker’s release clause after Ten Hag intervention helps push superb signing through

Netherlands striker Joshua Zirkzee, Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United have informed Bologna they WILL activate the release clause in the contract of striker Joshua Zirkzee, while Erik ten Hag’s involvement in the deal has been revealed as well as the current status of rival suitor AC Milan.

Zirkzee has emerged as Man Utd’s primary target to replace Anthony Martial and challenge Rasmus Hojlund for the starting spot next season. Martial – along with Raphael Varane and Brandon Williams – left United via free agency at the end of June.

Zirkzee, 23, scored 11 goals and provided five assists in Serie A last term. His exploits helped Bologna to a fifth-placed finish which proved enough to qualify for next season’s revamped Champions League.

However, Zirkzee might not stick around to play in the expanded UCL, with a move to Old Trafford quickly gathering pace.

The Dutchman is currently on international duty at Euro 2024. The Netherlands teed up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with England after coming from a goal behind to progress past Turkey.

Zirkzee has barely featured for Dutch boss Ronald Koeman thus far, though he’s very much a man in demand at club level.

AC Milan and Man Utd are both vying for his signature and until the Red Devils entered the race, it had been strongly anticipated Zirkzee’s future would lay in Milan.

Any club can activate the striker’s €40m/£34m release clause, though the issue of high agent’s fees had reared its ugly head.

Zirkzee’s agent is Kia Joorabchian who is reportedly demanding around €10m to oversee his client’s transfer. Milan are insistent they won’t pay such a fee, though Man Utd aren’t as reluctant.

Man Utd to activate Joshua Zirkzee release clause

According to a fresh update from reporter Ben Jacobs, Man Utd have informed Bologna they WILL trigger Zirkzee’s release clause.

Furthermore, Jacobs delivered more positive news when reaffirming Milan’s pursuit has stalled thanks to the agent’s commission.

“Manchester United have told Bologna they are prepared to pay or match Joshua Zirkzee’s €40m release clause,” wrote Jacobs on X.

“Zirkzee focused on Euro 2024 causing a delay in any decision, but his agent Kia Joorabchian is in direct talks with Manchester United.

“Understand the commissions spoken of are around €10m. Milan have refused to pay this high despite getting buy-in from Zirkzee pre-window. Zirkzee is now currently a top striker priority for Man Utd.”

READ MORE: Man Utd striker targets: EVERY option linked for the summer 2024 transfer window

Ten Hag role revealed

With Man Utd prepared to pay full price and Milan’s chase stuttering and stumbling, a transfer is clearly there for the making.

Caught Offside recently claimed Man Utd have also struck an agreement on personal terms with the frontman.

An update from transfer guru Fabrizio Romano suggests that claim may be slightly premature. However, Romano did confirm fresh talks between Man Utd and Zirkzee have been held and manager Ten Hag has also got involved.

Taking to X, Romano stated: “Manchester United held new talks with Joshua Zirkzee’s agent to discuss contract terms, salary, commission.

“Erik ten Hag spoke to Zirkzee on phone several times.”

All being well, Zirkzee will join Man Utd in what could quickly prove to be a masterstroke signing.

Further additions are wanted at centre-half and also in central midfield if Casemiro is offloaded to Saudi Arabia.

A move for Jarrad Branthwaite has reportedly collapsed, though progress on signing Matthijs De Ligt is being made.

Elsewhere, Man Utd have agreed to sell Donny van de Beek to Girona in a deal that will see the club incur an eye-watering loss…

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