Liverpool tipped to swoop in for Manchester United linked frontman

Liverpool could be about to hijack rivals Manchester United’s pursuit of one of their top targets this summer, according to a report from Caught Offside.

The Red Devils, driven by manager Erik ten Hag’s request, have reportedly made significant strides in their chase of Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee.

However, despite ongoing discussions, the Dutch forward has yet to agree on personal terms, with the £34 million release clause proving no obstacle.

Though the 23-year-old is reportedly impressed by United’s keen interest, United's desire to secure a deal is also being slowed down by Zirkzee's participation in Euro 2024 as part of Ronald Koeman's Netherlands squad—even if the forward has yet to feature off the bench.

A stellar season for Bologna

Zirkzee has come onto the radar of many top teams across Europe after an excellent season in Serie A. The Dutchman was pivotal in Thiago Motta's Bologna securing a return to the UEFA Champions League after 60 years.

Born in Schiedam, Netherlands, Zirkzee's career took him to Bayern Munich in 2017 before loan moves to Parma and then Anderlecht, where he excelled under Vincent Kompany.

His impressive form in Belgium led Bologna to sign him for €8.5 million in the summer of 2022.

Known for his technical finesse and creativity in tight areas, Zirkzee registered 19 goal contributions in 37 games for Bologna in the 2023/24 season, earning himself a call-up for his national team this summer, alongside Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, Ryan Gravenberch and Cody Gakpo.

As a result, Manchester United view Zirkzee as an ideal partner for Rasmus Hojlund.

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Liverpool ready to swoop for Zirkzee

United aim to finalise a deal for Zirkzee this month, securing the 23-year-old’s signature on a long-term contract.

However, the Premier League giants are wary of Zirkzee's wage demands and have even identified Lille’s Jonathan David as a backup target.

This delay, according to reports, has seemingly left the door open to other clubs who are interested in the forward, including the likes of Liverpool, AC Milan and Arsenal.

New Reds coach Arne Slot is believed to be a big admirer of his compatriot and is open to bolstering Liverpool’s attacking options.

However, at present, the Reds have a lot of depth in attacking areas. Therefore, any potential move for Zirkzee hinges a lot on the futures of his current charges, especially the Saudi-linked Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz, who is of interest to Barcelona.

That said, Zirkzee's potential move to Anfield would not only strengthen Liverpool’s squad but also deal a blow to their arch-rivals' transfer plans. For that reason alone, a move is probably worth considering.

We've been here before, of course. Remember Cody Gakpo? He looked all set to join Manchester United before the Reds swooped to snap him up from under their noses in January 2023.

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