Man Utd CEO Omar Berrada may have already ruled out a top target with rare comments – Football News

Man Utd CEO Omar Berrada may have already ruled out a top target with rare comments

Omar Berrada may have ruled out Joshua Zirkzee to Man Utd. (Image: PA)

Manchester United’s interest in Joshua Zirkzee is advanced, and talks with the Bologna striker’s representatives over a summer transfer have begun, according to reports. But incoming chief executive Omar Berrada may have already ruled out the prospect of United sanctioning a deal if they can’t overcome a significant hurdle.

A new striker to provide Rasmus Hojlund with competition is among the Red Devils’ transfer priorities this summer, alongside a centre-back and a central midfielder.

Anthony Martial will leave the club as a free agent at the end of the month, when his contract expires following nine years at Old Trafford.

And Zirkzee has emerged as a leading target while talks regarding a potential switch to Bologna’s Serie A rivals AC Milan continue to stall.

According to The Athletic, United are exploring a deal for the 23-year-old, who received a late call-up to the Netherlands’ Euro 2024 squad.

Zirkzee has a £34million release clause in his Bologna contract, an attractive fee for a player who helped Thiago Motta’s entertaining side earn Champions League qualification for the first time.

He registered 11 goals and six assists in the Serie A last term and would arrive at Old Trafford to compete with Hojlund for a starting berth.

However, his wage demands and the fee desired by his agent could become significant hurdles amid restrictions imposed on United by FFP and PSR.

Man Utd are interested in Joshua Zirkzee.

Man Utd are interested in Joshua Zirkzee. (Image: Getty)

Sky Italy claim Kia Joorabchian, Zirkzee’s agent, wants around £12.5m from his client’s summer transfer, which is proving to be a challenge for Milan to work around.

United may have the same issue as INEOS work to end the club’s reputation for overpaying on transfers since Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2013.

Berrada will helm United’s new-look recruitment team once he starts work on July 13, and he has publicly suggested that the club won’t continue such habits under his watch.

Last week, the former City Football Group COO attended the EU Business School’s commencement ceremony in Barcelona.

Following his appearance, an attendant posted a segment of his talk on social media, during which he is said to have emphasised his ambition to establish a fresh structure at United.

“It was a pleasure to meet Manchester United’s appointed new CEO, Omar Berrada (one of the most experienced football executives at the top of European football), at the sidelines of the EU Business School commencement ceremony,” Marc Guerrero wrote on LinkedIn.

“Berrada arrives to United after being chief football operations officer (COO) at Manchester City Football Club.

“For him, implementing the correct structure at the club is key to the team’s success. He also warns overpaying clubs, players and agents in the transfer market can lead to teams finding themselves on a ‘slippery slope’.”

With that in mind, United likely won’t be handing almost half of the value of Zirkzee’s transfer fee to his agent. If there is no room for a compromise in that aspect of the deal, alternatives will be at the ready.