Manchester United splashed out a fortune to onboard Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta last summer, but the move hasn’t panned out as planned.
As per Florian Plettenberg, another Serie A star, Joshua Zirkzee, could become part of the Old Trafford dressing room, with United earmarking the Bologna prodigy as a genuine transfer target.
His price tag has been set at €50-60 million as per reports in Italian media earlier this month.
Zirkzee’s former club, Bayern Munich, would have the upper hand after including a buy-back clause in the 22-year-old’s switch to Renato Dall’Aara in 2022.
However, after completing a blockbuster signing of Harry Kane, the perennial Bundesliga champions are not overly enthusiastic about bringing the Dutchman back to their flock.
Bayern’s withdrawal from the race would pave the way for Man Utd to prise Zirkzee out of Bologna, considering his other suitors can’t cope with the Red Devils’ financial prowess.
AC Milan and Juventus have emerged as the versatile forward’s admirers in Serie A. However, considering their economic inferiority, both clubs would likely fall short of United’s offer.
Plettengberg’s report states Man United and Bologna have initiated talks over Zirkzee’s potential move to the Premier League at the end of 2023/24.
That would mean United’s desire to capture the former Anderlecht striker has transcended the borders of theory, suggesting a summer deal could be on the cards.
Serie A can be deceptive
Man Utd completed most of their summer business in Serie A.
Andre Onana, Sofyan Amrabat and Hojlund linked up with Erik ten Hag’s side in the last transfer window, setting the club back over €100 million.
Each player excelled in the Italian top flight before sealing a move to Old Trafford.
Onana established himself among Europe’s most highly-rated goalkeepers at Inter Milan, while Amrabat reigned supreme at Fiorentina.
How have their moves turned out?
The Cameroon international has come nowhere near David de Gea’s standard, while the Moroccan midfielder will return to Tuscany as a flop.
Following a sluggish start to life in the Premier League, Hojlund seems to be gaining momentum but still has to go a long way to live up to his £62m price tag.
Instead of learning from their mistakes, United are ready to commit another one. And it would come at a high price.
Bologna eyeing up club-record sale
Despite their long-standing tenure in Serie A, Bologna are a middle-class team at best.
Even with standout individual performances from some players, the Rossoblu can’t expect significant financial gains.
Simone Verdi’s €24m move to Napoli in 2018 remains the club’s most expensive sale, with only eight other players pouring €10m+ into the Dall’Ara outfit’s bank accounts.
But as Bologna bid to secure European football under Thiago Motta, their appetites are no longer humble. Reports in Italy suggest they could ask for up to €60m to sanction Zirkzee’s departure.
While that price doesn’t look mind-blowing in today’s market, it’d still be a significant financial sacrifice.
Man United’s habit of overpaying for their targets precedes them. It has to stop.
Zirkzee is not what Man Utd need
It always comes down to this criterion. No player is too expensive if they bring prosperity and results.
However, it’s been over a decade since Man United last won the Premier League title, and patience within the club faithful is running thin.
Ten Hag’s future is up in the air, and even if he survives this season, next summer will probably define his managerial career at Old Trafford.
There’s no margin for error anymore.
Man United need a lethal goalscorer capable of guaranteeing 20+ goals per season, and Zirkzee doesn’t fit the bill.
With seven goals from 19 Serie A appearances this season, Zirkzee is enjoying his most prolific senior campaign.
Like Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, he’s an exciting all-around prospect, and the Red Devils have had a fair share of those in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
But a goalscoring machine he is not.
Why waste another insane figure on a player who wouldn’t bring an improvement?
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