Man Utd boost as rivals ‘lose ground’ in race for ‘top target’ with ‘Plan B’ targeted

Lewis Oldham
Joshua Zirkzee transfer to Man Utd
Joshua Zirkzee has been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United.

According to reports, Manchester United have been given a boost as they attempt to beat rivals in the race to sign Bologna forward Joshua Zirkzee.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in Serie A for Bologna during the 2023/24 campaign. He grabbed 12 goals and seven assists in his 37 appearances across all competitions.

Zirkzee to Man Utd?

Zirkzee‘s performances for Bologna earned him a spot in the Netherlands’ 26-man squad for Euro 2024 and he’s being targeted by clubs across Europe.

Serie A giants AC Milan initially looked to be his most likely nest destination but Premier League giants Man Utd are stepping up their interest in the forward as they attempt to sign a striker to challenge Rasmus Hojlund.

£64m signing Hojlund impressed during his debut season for Man Utd as he scored 16 goals across all competitions, but the 21-year-old would benefit from having a capable teammate to compete with for starts.

Zirkzee is available for an affordable fee as there is a £34m release clause in his contract and it’s been reported that he’s been identified as Man Utd’s ‘top target’.

On Thursday morning, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano confirmed Zirkzee is “one of the names they’re considering” while club chiefs also “look at midfielders”.

“As I’ve reported in recent days, Manchester United are looking at several positions, including a striker, with Joshua Zirkzee one of the names they’re considering, and they’ve asked for information about him.

“But they’re also looking at midfielders – it’s not something imminent, it’s not happening now, but they’re considering opportunities and internally they are discussing several options.”

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According to reports in Italy, Man Utd have been given a boost in the race to sign Zirkzee as rivals AC Milan have ‘lost a bit of ground’.

Zirkzee is said to be their ‘first choice’, but the cost of the deal means talks are currently ‘at a standstill’.

This has made AC Milan consider alternatives, with Girona and Ukraine forward Artem Dovbyk named as their ‘Plan B’. This deal could also be difficult as they face competition from Atletico Madrid and Napoli.

Regarding Man Utd’s chase for a new midfielder, Romano claims West Ham United star Edson Alvarez is a target as Erik ten Hag “knows him very well”.

“In case Casemiro leaves the club, and if Financial Fair Play allows it, they are assessing options in midfield, and one of the names being mentioned is Edson Alvarez of West Ham,” Romano added.

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“It would be a difficult deal, and very expensive, because West Ham consider him a crucial player, but of course Alvarez is a player that Erik ten Hag knows very well from their time together at Ajax.

“Alvarez was a key player at Ajax and he did well at West Ham last season, and he’s considered a really, really good player by all people at Manchester United.

“It’s not easy, it will take time, but Alvarez is one of the options being discussed internally at Man United in case they decide to make a move for a new midfielder.”