How Good is Joshua Zirkzee? Man United is Close to Signing Bologna Star

From Disneyland to the Euros, it’s already been a turbulent summer for Joshua Zirkzee. A late call up to the Netherlands squad due to injuries elsewhere meant the Dutchman had to give Mickey Mouse the elbow to represent his country in Germany. It will add to what will already likely be a dramatic summer for the 23 year old. AC Milan and Arsenal have been linked with Zirkzee but appears that Old Trafford will be his final destination. Manchester United have reportedly agreed personal terms with the player and they now need to decide whether to pay his €40 million release clause in full or try and negotiate an alternative payment structure with Bologna.

 Zirkzee's market value has exploded last season. He has had a decent return of 11 goals and five assists in 34 games Serie A games for Bologna,

Zirkzee’s market value has exploded last season. He has had a decent return of 11 goals and five assists in 34 games Serie A games for Bologna, but his performances and potential have led to his value skyrocketing. Zirkzee joined Bologna for just €8.5m in the summer of 2022 and as part of the latest Serie A market value update in May saw his market value rise to €50m. Over the 2023/24 season, Zirkzee’s market value increased by +€41m – the ninth biggest upgrade across the whole of Europe.

A product of the Feyenoord and Bayern Munich academies, Zirkzee was highly regarded with the Bavarian giants but struggled for playing time. Bayern have a reported buy-back option worth between €20-25m, with the Bundesliga giants also set to earn 50% of any future transfer. If Manchester United activate his release clause then Bologna would be set to receive only around €20m for him this summer, with the other €20m heading to the Allianz Arena. The fact Bayern installed both those contract options shows the club believed in the Dutchman’s potential despite selling him to Bologna.

Joshua Zirkzee: Bologna striker “is a complete forward” 

“This season, he has finally taken the long-awaited step forward,” Area Manager Italy Jatin Dietl said. “He has started to score regularly.” The market for center-forwards has been particularly bullish as there is a high demand in physical strikers right now. After years in which clubs have neglected the production of that type of player, there is a relatively short supply of that prototype. That’s one of the reasons why the likes of Højlund demanded a €74m transfer fee last summer despite still being relatively unproven at the highest level.

But what sort of player is Zirkzee? “He is a very fast center-forward despite his physical size,” Dietl said. “Physically strong, very good in the air, good shooting technique, and good at defending the ball and pressing. Gifted with excellent quality, he has become one of the most technical strikers in Serie A. He often drops back to the Trequartista line and even further behind, moving freely across the entire offensive front. Zirkzee is a complete forward who scores in every way, proving extremely unpredictable to opposing defenders.”

 Zirkzee's market value has exploded last season. He has had a decent return of 11 goals and five assists in 34 games Serie A games for Bologna,

What does that look like in numbers? The eleven Serie A goals scored this season ranks the striker joint fifteenth in the division, 13 behind Golden Boot winner Lautaro Martínez. Those numbers are encouraging, but they also highlight room for improvement. That growth will be necessary if Zirkzee wants to make the step up to a top European club. If it is to be Man United, there will be high expectations for a good start following a disappointing season for the club – Zirkzee will be expected to hit the ground running.

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