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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Joshua Zirkzee is exactly what Erik ten Hag needs at Manchester United as transfer nears completion

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Manchester United supporters will be hoping that Erik ten Hag’s imminent signing Joshua Zirkzee will be more like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie rather than Memphis Depay and Wout Weghorst. United have been hit and miss when it comes to Dutch strikers at the club.

Some suggest that Zirkzee, 23 has not proven himself at the top level to play for United, whilst others suggest that he is a player that Ten Hag needs at the club to get the best out of his attacking line. Rasmus Hojlund signed for United last summer and took time to settle at his new club.

United are expected to pay the £34 million release clause to Bologna for the Dutch strikers services this summer but will also be expected to pay upwards of £12 million to agent Kia Joorabchian, which means this transfer will be a sizeable one for the Old Trafford club. But still good business.

If the transfer gets across the line, Zirkzee would arrive at the Theatre of Dreams with one good season behind him, much like that of Hojlund – both of them starring in Serie A with Bologna (Kirkzee) and Atalanta (Hojlund). It will be much harder in the Premier League.

Zirkzee scored 12 goals and seven assists in 37 appearances for Bologna last season, which is admirable but not brilliant. He will need massive improvement in the step up to the Premier League – could will be something the 23-year-old will thrive in because of the pace of the game.

In his final season in Italy before signing for United, Hojlund scored 16 goals and seven assists in the 2022/23 season for both Atalanta and Sturm Graz – a feat he achieved for United last season when he scored 16 goals and two assists for United in all competitions. Consistency for Hojlund.

Zirkzee is not a traditional number nine, just like Hojlund. The Dutchman can be seen dropping in to link play and can jump onto through balls, which is something United need from attacking players. Players all over the pitch can score goals for United but Zirkzee and Hojlund could combine well.

United could do with a van Nistelrooy or van Persie type player at Old Trafford this summer, but a forward line that consisted of Zirkzee and Hojlund could be just as threatening, providing Ten Hag is going to make the changes to his formation, which could actually come from above him this season.

Written by Paul


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