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Thursday, February 22, 2024

‘Reminds me a lot of Berbatov’: Man United’s £42m target likened to two Red Devils icons

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Manchester United are reportedly in a strong position to sign Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee this summer, with the Serie A hotshot sharing a few similarities with Premier League icon Dimitar Berbatov. 

Unflustred, unhurried and, often, pretty unbelievable. Joshua Zirkzee is threatening to become one of 2024’s breakout talents. Going from promising-if-unproven youngster to a striker banging on the window of the elite before smashing through the glass.  

Sport Italia reports that Manchester United are leading the race for the one-time Bayern Munich forward, despite rival interest from the likes of Arsenal and AC Milan.

And, should he bring his balletic elegance to Old Trafford, it won’t only be Robert Acquafresca drawing comparisons between the £42 million-rated Zirkzee and a certain former Red Devils frontman.

Bologna FC v Torino FC - Serie A TIM

Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Manchester United like Joshua Zirkzee

“Zirkzee? He will be a transfer man in the summer,” Acquafresca, who spent six years at Bologna until 2017, tells Tuttomercatoweb. “And, if I have to compare him to someone, he reminds me a lot of Berbatov.

“Because he has great technique and vision of the game and only scores beautiful goals.”

With eight from 20 Serie A appearances this term, Zirkzee is perhaps more a scorer of great goals than he is a ‘great goalscorer’. And Acquafresca agrees with the assessment of Bologna director Marco di Vaio, insisting that Zirkzee would benefit from adding the odd tap-in to his collection.

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“I felt Di Vaio when he said that now he also has to score some dirty goals to be even more complete as a striker,” the former Genoa, Atalanta and Inter Milan striker adds.

According to Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg, talks between United and Bologna have already taken place for the one-time Bayern Munich starlet. A deal was never going to occur in January, due to the club’s Financial Fair Play concerns, but it could very much be on the cards in the summer, by which point INEOS will have got their feet firmly under the table.

Berbatov, meanwhile, is not the only former United number nine Zirkzee has been likened to, his rangy frame and velvet touch earning comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic too.

“Something is there (of Zlatan), yes,” Bologna’s Swedish winger Jesper Karlsson tells Gazzetta dello Sport. “The physicality or the ability to transform difficult situations into simple ones…

“It is certainly beautiful to watch him play.”

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