Manchester United are expected to be in the race to sign Florian Wirtz but Bayer Leverkusen’s £130 million price-tag could scupper the Red Devils chances of taking the Germany international to the Premier League.
Usually, when a talented young forward is likened to Lionel Messi, the tendency is to roll your eyes, scoff, and respond with something along the lines of ‘yeah, right’.
But, in the case of Florian Wirtz, the Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid is building up quite the portfolio of evidence to suggest that he could, in fact, be Germany’s answer to the Argentine icon.
“There are good players and there are players who look good on the pitch. The player who looks good does things that are nice. But (they are) not necessarily efficient,” Liverpool legend and Bayer boss Xabi Alonso said Wirtz, reportedly on the radar of Manchester United and every European giant worth their salt (Goal).
“Why is Messi so good? Because he knows how and when to play simple passes. Messi says; ‘You’re in a better position? Here, there you have the ball!’
“It’s not always about making the most brilliant move, but the best and smartest. Florian can do that (too). That’s why he’s so good.”
Manchester United like Florian Wirtz
So good, and so, so expensive.
According to BILD, some at Bayer Leverkusen believe that a fee in the region of £130 million could be extracted via the sale of arguably the most exciting German talent of the modern era. Should Wirtz sign a new contract at the Bundesliga leaders, it would include a release clause of over £110 million, meaning Man United would likely have to smash their transfer record and stump up a nine-figure sum for the very first time.
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Whether they are in any position to do just that, when the time comes for Wirtz to fly the nest, may depend on how effectively INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and co can rebuild the club on and off the pitch after two decades of Glazer mismanagement.
Germany’s answer to Lionel Messi?
Sky Germany reported back in November that Man United are watching Wirtz ‘closely’.
Still only 20, the twinkle-toed forward – who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee due to his fearsome combination of snake-hipped silk and devastating efficiency – has 20 goal contributions from just 24 appearances in 2023/24.