Ashworth has ‘Personally Convinced’ Zirkzee to Join Man Utd


  • Manchester United have agreed personal terms with Joshua Zirkzee ahead of a £34 million move from Bologna.
  • Dan Ashworth played a key role in convincing Zirkzee, with a plan for him and Rasmus Hojlund to coexist in the squad.
  • United may now turn their attention to signing a central defender, with Matthijs de Ligt as their primary target.

Manchester United have agreed personal terms with Joshua Zirkzee ahead of a potential £34 million move from Bologna, with Dan Ashworth key to the negotiations, according to journalist Nick Semeraro.

It was reported yesterday that United were in ‘advanced talks’ to sign the Dutchman, with AC Milan potentially the only side standing in the English club’s way. However, Semeraro has suggested that Zirkzee has now agreed to move to Old Trafford, with the proposed switch to the San Siro off.

United have reach an agreement on a commission package with the player’s agent Kia Joorabchian, with a discount in place between the two parties due to their good relations. It’s understood that Erik ten Hag and Ashworth were key in facilitating the deal, personally convincing Zirkzee of the project on offer in the north-west, and a deal is now set to commence as United can trigger the player’s €40m release clause.

Ashworth Key to Convincing Zirkzee

The Striker had been sceptical about the move

Joshua Zirkzee

Arriving from Newcastle United this summer, Dan Ashworth was appointed as the Red Devils’ sporting director, having thrived in similar roles with the Magpies and at Brighton & Hove Albion. While overseeing the long-term rebuild is the director’s primary objective in this role, Ashworth was also acquired by United to help deals like this materialise.

After initial rumours had circulated linking Zirkzee with a move to Old Trafford, reports emerged suggesting the 23-year-old was reluctant to agree to the deal due to the existence of Rasmus Hojlund at the club, who had been bought last summer for £72 million. A move to Milan was reportedly on the table, a switch that offered the player the opportunity to replace veteran Olivier Giroud and become the undisputed number nine for the Rossoneri.

However, according to Semeraro, Ten Hag and Ashworth intervened, holding direct talks with the player over their plan for him and Rasmus Hojlund co-existing within the United Squad. It’s understood that many inside Old Trafford see the duo as playing together from time-to-time, but will ultimately share minutes to ease the burden on one another.

This plan appealed to Zirkzee, who has now agreed terms with United, leaving just the activation of the player’s release clause as the final piece in the transfer puzzle. The former Bayern Munich striker – labelled as “elite” by football analyst Ben Mattinson – has been the subject of interest from several clubs this summer, having enjoyed an exceptional season with Bologna last campaign, scoring 12 goals in all competitions, and it appears United have won the race.

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United May Turn Attentions to Defensive Signing

De Ligt is now the primary target

Matthijs de Ligt clapping at EURO 2020

Once a deal for Zirkzee is finalised, United may accelerate their interest in signing a central defender. After the proposed move for Jarrad Branthwaite got ‘colder’ due to Everton’s staunch £70 million asking price, the 2024 FA Cup winners have turned their attentions to Bayern’s Matthijs de Ligt.

The Netherlands international is supposedly ‘keen’ a move to United, having fallen in the pecking order at the Allianz. Eric Dier’s arrival in January meant the centre-back started just ten Bundesliga games after January, and is now the ‘most likely’ centre-back signing at Old Trafford this summer.


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All Statistics via FBRef – as of 03/07/2024

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