Man United close to FINALISING first summer signing

Joshua Zirkee

Manchester United have reportedly agreed on the deal to sign Netherlands international Joshua Zirkzee’s from Bologna.

The Red Devils have held extensive talks with Zirkzee’s representatives, and there is increased optimism from all parties that a deal to bring the player to Old Trafford will be concluded in the coming days. 

United, who are in the market for an attacker, consider the 23-year-old to be the perfect fit for their system and is willing to meet his £34m release clause.

According to reports by Sky Sports, the only thing left in the deal is the finer details, with discussions ongoing internally over whether United will pay the clause in full or negotiate a structure with Bologna.

United are not the only club interested in Zirkzee, who has two years left on his contract with Bologna. Fellow Premier League clubs, such as Arsenal, are also keen, while AC Milan and Juventus are also interested in the player. But the Serie A clubs have given up their pursuit of the player, who has given his green light on a transfer to Old Trafford.

Zirkzee graduated through Bayern Munich’s system and had spells with Parma and Anderlecht before joining Bologna in the summer of 2022. After a muted first season in which he scored just two Serie A goals in 808 minutes for Bologna, the forward, who can play as a centre forward or winger, hit new heights with the club last season. He scored eleven league goals for Thiago Motta’s side as they qualified for the Champions League. 

The 23-year-old was not just about goals, though. He proved himself as a lethal left winger and was ranked among the top five players in Serie A for attempted dribbles, creating big chances, and regaining possession in the final third. Those qualities are exactly what Erik ten Hag will be hoping he brings to the table as he attempts to reinvent a Man United team that struggled last season. 

Zirkee is currently with the Dutch national team squad at Euro 2024. He made his first appearance of the tournament last Saturday in the Netherlands win over Turkey, coming on as a late substitute.

What Top Six Football Thinks

After several Dutch players failed at Old Trafford, Manchester United fans will be hoping that Joshua Zirkzee will be more like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie rather than Memphis Depay and Wout Weghorst. 

The Red Devils have been hit and miss when it comes to Holland attackers, with Weghorst’s recent disastrous spell at the club being the most recent. Dutch coach, Erik ten Hag has favoured players with roots or associating with the Netherlands, with Donny van de Beek, Anthony, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, and the aforementioned Weghorst either Dutch or have played football in Holland. But none of these player have really repaid the faith of the club. 

That said, there are no indications that Zirkzee will flop at the club even though he has not proven himself to be at the top level. The 23-year-old possesses the qualities that Erik ten Hag needs at the club to get the best out of his attacking line. He will be a perfect foil for Rasmus Hojlund and Alejandro Garnacho and appears to be an upgrade on Marcus Rashford, who struggled badly for form last season. 

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