Man Utd 'closing in' on first signing of INEOS era after sealing bargain agreement

INEOS are closing in on their first Man Utd signing. (Image: REACH)

Manchester United are closing in on a £34million deal for Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee after his agent, Kia Joorabchian, derailed AC Milan’s pursuit, according to reports. Zirkzee could become the first signing of the INEOS era amid complications with multiple centre-back targets at the start of the summer transfer window.

United are said to have identified a striker alongside a centre-back and central midfielder as their priority positions to address this summer.

And Zirkzee appears to have been pinpointed at the top of the striker shortlist ahead of the expiry of Anthony Martial’s contract on July 1.

According to i Sport, United are nearing Zirkzee’s signature after Milan started searching for alternative options.

Talks are said to have begun with the 23-year-old’s agent, who has agreed to demand a lower fee from United than Milan due to his strained relationship with the latter.

The report claims Joorabchian was demanding around £12m from the San Siro giants but is ready to table significantly lowered terms to their rival suitors.

He is believed to be unlikely to lower his asking price to Milan, making United favourites to seal a deal for Zirkzee.

The Red Devils are reportedly ready to trigger Zirkzee’s £34m release clause, which could prove to be excellent value in the coming years.

Man Utd are ready to trigger Joshua Zirkzee’s release clause. (Image: Getty)

He was said to be keen on staying in Italy with Milan, who have been circling for a long time amid his impressive exploits in Serie A.

Milan can also offer Champions League football next season – as can Bologna – while United will play in the Europa League after finishing eighth in the Premier League but winning the FA Cup.

But if the seven-time European champions bow out of the race, Zirkzee will be widely expected to land at Old Trafford after his involvement at Euro 2024 is complete.

The Netherlands international was a late entrant in Ronald Koeman’s squad in Germany, having been snubbed from his initial selection.

He has been an unused substitute in his nation’s opening two Group D games – a 2-1 win against Poland and a 0-0 draw with France.

Memphis Depay is Koeman’s starting striker, with former United loanee Wout Weghorst his first-choice cover option, scoring the late winner against Poland off the bench.

Zirkzee’s presence at Euro 2024 delays a potential transfer, but United look to be positioning themselves to secure his services quickly once the Netherlands’ campaign is over.

He would then battle Rasmus Hojlund for a starting berth next season, offering two youthful options which offer different strengths.