Man United 'serious' about triggering £34m release clause as surprise centre-back option emerges

Jarrad Branthwaite
-Credit: (Image: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Manchester United are reportedly preparing to trigger Joshua Zirkzee's release clause at Bologna.

United are looking to offer Rasmus Hojlund competition next season, and talks with Zirkzee's representatives are ongoing. It is not the first time the 23-year-old has been linked with a move to the Premier League after once being offered a contract by Everton in 2017.

But a move to Goodison Park never materialised and Bayern Munich swooped for him. Zirkzee is a fan of Robert Levandowski and following in his footsteps is said to have been one reason for snubbing the Blues in favour of the Bundesliga.

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Zirkzee later completed a move to Bologna in 2022 and after his standout performances, he is thought to be one of the three options on United's shortlist of player to strengthen their attacking ranks. The Telegraph reports that with a striker one of United's main priorities, they are 'preparing' to trigger Zirkzee's £34million release clause.

Despite having other alternative options, there is said to be 'serious interest' to bring the Dutch to Old Trafford.

Elsewhere, United are reported to have added Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Max Kilman to their shortlist as an alternative to Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite. The club had an opening bid of £35m rejected by the Toffees last week after reportedly agreeing terms with the player over a move.

Give Me Sport reports that the Reds are keen to spend no more than £45m on a new defender to fill the void left by Raphael Varane. It is reported that United might join the conversation 'more seriously' if their main defensive targets are 'unfeasible' following the rejected bid for Branthwaite.

However, they will face competition from Tottenham and West Ham for Kilman. Wolves meanwhile, would be reluctant to part ways with the 27-year-old, who is said to have a £50m price tag.