Ornstein: Man Utd ‘now close’ to signing as the Red Devils ‘work to finalise’ first summer transfer

Joe Williams
Man Utd transfer target Joshua Zirkzee
Joshua Zirkzee has been linked with a move to Man Utd.

Premier League side Man Utd are “now close” to completed a deal to sign Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee, according to reports.

The Red Devils hierarchy are looking to support Erik ten Hag by bringing in some fresh faces over the next couple of months after agreeing a new contract with the Man Utd boss until 2026.

And now they are looking to complete their first signing of the summer transfer window with The Athletic‘s David Ornstein insisting that Man Utd are “now close” to signing Zirkzee.

Earlier on Sunday, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano had provided his own update on the situation with the Italian journalist claiming that Man Utd are “now advancing in talks” with the Netherlands international.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “United are now advancing in talks with Zirkzee and his agent. Zirkzee already reached an agreement with AC Milan, and Man United would match that proposal with similar numbers, but Milan don’t want to pay the big commission, while United are prepared to meet that number.

“Erik ten Hag wants the player and has been calling Zirkzee on a regular basis, but then other key figures at Old Trafford will also have to decide, such as key figures deciding on transfers like Dan Ashworth, Jason Wilcox and Christopher Vivell. So, the internal discussion is ongoing, and it’s up to them now to decide if they want to proceed with Zirkzee or go for another player.”

And now The Athletic‘s Ornstein insists Man Utd are ‘working to finalise the signing’ with the Red Devils having ‘agreements in place on personal terms and agent commission, which is sizable but viewed at Old Trafford as fair in the context of an overall package deemed good value for money’.

Despite Zirkzee having a €40m release clause, ‘talks continue about the fee’ as the Red Devils would have to pay the full amount in one sum if they triggered the cause and Ornstein adds that it would create ‘a potential cashflow issue for the Premier League club’.

But Zirkzee is the striker Man Utd have ‘decided to pursue and a deal for the Netherlands international is now close to being secured’.

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A midfielder is also towards the top of their wishlist and former Man Utd defender Paul Parker reckons the Red Devils should sign Morten Hjulmand from Sporting Lisbon after watching him play for Denmark at Euro 2024.

Parker said recently: “I think he has been incredible. I haven’t seen all his games at Sporting, but I’ve seen a few, and he has just completely dominated.

“He became captain in Serie A at the age of 22, so that speaks of a kid with huge leadership qualities. Those are precisely the leadership qualities that Manchester United could use.

“When I look at him, I see in many ways a younger version of Casemiro, and that’s something Manchester United could really use. He is good with the ball, strong in duels, and he would take a bullet for his teammates. He’s a bit crazy, which is cool.

“Eriksen has a completely different freedom in the national team than he does at Manchester United, and you can see now that he is still a class player. I think Hjulmand has been a big reason for freeing up Eriksen so he can move further up the pitch for Denmark. He just hasn’t had the opportunity to do that at Manchester United because they haven’t had any form of balance

“With a player like Hjulmand, who can dominate the midfield, he can get that freedom. I really hope they sign him, and then Manchester United can have a Danish axis, which consists of players who always give 100%.

“Hjulmand and Højlund are warriors, and Eriksen can slot in between them. It would be really good, so I really hope for that.”