Sky journalist drops “news” on Man Utd interest in Joshua Zirkzee

Manchester United twice led against Spurs at the weekend, and twice they were pegged back. Manager Erik ten Hag will nonetheless be pleased to signs of life from an attack that scored multiple goals for just the seventh time in 21 Premier League matches this season.

Even after an improved showing, United have still recorded the fewest goals (24) of any side in the league’s top 13, and they have the poorest goal difference (-5) of any team in the top 11. £72m summer signing Rasmus Hojlund has only been able to find the net twice in 16 league outings so far, and United would be wise to recruit another striker who can take the pressure off him. Those efforts, it seems, are already underway.

According to Sky Sport Germany’s Florian Plettenberg, United have enquired about Joshua Zirkzee at Bologna. Recruitment staff at Old Trafford have “a high opinion” of Zirkzee in light of what he’s done this season, and they’ve listed him as a target for 2024.


“Talks took place” over a possible deal, but the Red Devils learned that “Bologna won’t let him go” during the winter window. Come the summer, however, it could be a different story, with a €40m release clause (the equivalent of about £34m) due to come into effect.

“Graceful” Zirkzee gives United clinical touch

Zirkzee joined Bayern’s academy in 2017 and, after loans at Parma and Anderlecht, he resettled at Bologna in 2022. His first year was quiet – he only started five league games and scored two goals – but he’s enjoying a breakout season in 2023/24. He’s bagged seven goals and set-up two more, form that had seen him start every single league game prior to a yellow-card suspension last time out.

Compatriot Rafael van der Vaart says the “very graceful” Zirkzee is “not normal”, and European football expert Alex Barker has warned that he’ll be a “terrifying” proposition if he maximises his potential. Journalist Zach Lowy, meanwhile, reckons he’ll be “one hell of a bargain” if he leaves for £34m.


Serie A top goalscorers



Lautaro Martinez



Olivier Giroud



Domenico Berardi, Hakan Calhanoglu



Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Thuram, Albert Gudmunsson, Matias Soule



JOSHUA ZIRKZEE, Andrea Pinamonti, Dusan Vlahovic, Ademola Lookman, Victor Osimhen


The numbers illustrate why. As you can see in the table above, the 22-year-old is among the most prolific forwards in Serie A this season, and he’s reached seven goals from an xG of just 4.5, which points to the clinical touch that United sorely need.

Serie A’s player of the month for both November and December, it seems like only a matter of time before he earns a call-up to the senior Dutch national side, and it’s not too late for him to play his way into their squad for Euro 2024

United should be wary of his former club Bayern, who negotiated a 50% sell-on clause as part of the sale agreement with Bologna. That means they’re able to buy him back for €20m, and they might see that as a smart business move, because they’d be able to sell him on again for a significant profit.

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