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Man United lead race and in pole position to sign £42m striker thanks to Harry Kane



Man United lead race and in pole position to sign £42m striker thanks to Harry Kane

Manchester United are reportedly in ‘pole position’ to bring Joshua Zirkzee to the Premier League this summer in a potential £43 million deal from Serie A outfit Bologna – thanks in part to Harry Kane.

Two years ago, at the start of the Erik ten Hag reign, Manchester United seriously considered signing Marko Arnautovic.

And it’s fair to say suggestions that an ageing centre-forward could have been on his way to Old Trafford – in the same summer that City signed Erling Haaland– were not particularly well received.

Flash forward to early 2024, the first few weeks of the INEOS regime, and the Red Devils are again being linked with a Bologna forward.

Joshua Zirkzee(Getty images)

The contrast between that Arnautovic saga and their interest in Joshua Zirkzee, however, feels somewhat symbolic.

A metaphor, perhaps, for the long-awaited shift from the total lack of ambition of the Glazer era and towards the forward-thinking, long-term plans put in place by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and co.

Manchester United lead Joshua Zirkzee
According to Sport Italia, Manchester United are in ‘pole position’ to sign Zirkzee once the current campaign comes to an end. If Arnautovic was a short-term sticking plaster sort of signing, then the opposite is true of a silky, skilful 22-year-old over a decade the Austrian’s junior.

Zirkzee is just getting started. And, after being sold by Bayern Munich, there is a sense that the one-time Feyenoord prospect would relish another chance to prove he belongs at the very highest level of the European game.

Zirkzee has certainly been performing like a man befitting of a bigger stage of late. He is not the most prolific of attackers – scoring eight goals in 22 games – but, as reporter Filip Joos points out, he is the sort of attacker who makes everyone else around him that little bit better.

A helping hand from Harry Kane
“He can reach any level because he is a player who has made an incredible leap in quality, both technically and mentally in the last four months. In my opinion, he can reach very high levels,” Giovanni Sartori, Bologna’s technical director, tells Tuttomercatoweb.

“(Bayern) probably believed (in Zirkzee’s potential) less than us. We both did a good job. We hope that, now, he will continue to give us the satisfaction he is giving us.”

Bayern do have a buy-back clause in Zirkzee’s contract. According to Sport Italia, however, they are unlikely to trigger it. Given the presence of a certain Harry Kane, Bayern are not exactly a side in need of additions for the number nine spot.

As such, the path to Zirkzee is far clearer than it may have been had Kane not made such an explosive impact in Bavaria.

Zirkzee would likely replace Anthony Martial at Man United. The Frenchman’s contract expires this summer.

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