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Man United 'move ahead' of rivals in pursuit of £34m Serie A striker

Man United 'move ahead' of rivals in pursuit of £34m Serie A striker
© Reuters
Manchester United allegedly emerge as the new frontrunners to secure a deal for a £34m-rated Serie A forward during the summer transfer window.

Manchester United are reportedly making progress in their efforts to bolster their forward line ahead of 2024-25.

The Red Devils committed to paying a substantial fee on Rasmus Hojlund last summer, with the hope they have found a long-term solution down the middle of their attack.

However, the young Dane was lacking regular competition last season, with Marcus Rashford out of form and largely featuring on the flank, as well as Anthony Martial spending the second part of the campaign on the sidelines.

With the latter departing on a free transfer, Erik ten Hag requires an alternative, and the club's footballing operations team are currently working diligently to fill that void.

Although there have been numerous names linked with a switch to Old Trafford, including Benjamin Sesko who has since penned a new contract with RB Leipzig, it appears that the Red Devils have settled on a preferred option.

Bologna's Joshua Zirkzee on May 11, 2024© Reuters

Man United upping interest in Zirkzee

According to The Athletic, United officials are exploring what will be required to get a deal for Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee over the line.

AC Milan are known to be keen on winning the race for the Dutchman, who was a late call-up to the Netherlands squad for Euro 2024.

Nevertheless, the Italian giants are allegedly yet to find a compromise over agent fees, seemingly opening the door for United to push ahead.

Journalist David Ornstein, who was commenting on X, says that United's interest in the 23-year-old is 'advanced', without official talks having yet started between the two clubs.

Zirkzee has a €40m (£33.75m) release clause present in his contract and Bologna are expected to insist that the figure is met for a sale to be agreed.

Bologna's Joshua Zirkzee celebrates after the match on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Can Zirkzee bring something different to United?

Not so long ago, it appeared that Zirkzee's potential may go to waste. He had limited impacts at Bayern Munich and Parma, subsequently resulting in a loan spell at Anderlecht for 2021-22.

Under the guidance of Vincent Kompany, 18 goals and 13 assists came from 47 appearances, catapulting him back into the consciousness of clubs in European football's top five leagues.

In two seasons in Bologna, he has helped transform them into a Champions League side, chipping in with 11 strikes and five assists during the last campaign.

With Ten Hag rarely playing with two centre-forwards, it is perhaps important that Zirkzee can be deployed as a number 10 or out on the flank, but he was deployed as the main man at Bologna during 2023-24.

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