Teamwork makes the dream work

Man Utd might make Rashford world-class once more by signing “elite” £34m star

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One of many areas the place Manchester United want so as to add to the depth of their squad this summer season is at centre-forward. Rasmus Hojlund is at present the one quantity 9 at Previous Trafford, and, regardless of a powerful debut season for the 21-year-old, has a giant burden on his shoulders as United’s chief striker at such a younger age.

Throughout his first marketing campaign as a Purple Satan, United’s quantity 11 scored 16 targets and registered two assists in 43 video games. That included ten strikes in 30 video games within the Premier League, at a median of a purpose each three video games, and a powerful run of eight targets in seven video games within the Premier League between December 2023 and February 2024.

Within the Champions League, Hojlund carried out nicely though United crashed out on the group levels. He netted 5 occasions and was outscored by simply 5 gamers, which is spectacular given he was the one participant to attain 5 or extra targets to get eradicated on the group levels.

The Dane’s first marketing campaign at United was spectacular and has given him one thing to construct on subsequent season. Nevertheless, United nonetheless want a quantity 9 this summer season and have been linked with one participant who might take a few of Hojlund’s burden.

Man Utd goal Serie A striker

The participant in query right here is Bologna and Netherlands striker Joshua Zirkzee. The previous Bayern Munich participant had a powerful season below Thiago Motta final time period and has been linked with a transfer away from the membership through the summer season window.

Based on a report from Sky in Italy by way of Sky Sports activities, the Purple Devils are considered “preserving a detailed eye on developments” concerning Zirkzee’s future in Northern Italy, and he’s considered “amongst quite a few attacking choices” that United are taking a look at.

Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee

Nevertheless, Erik ten Hag’s aspect should not believed to be the one membership fascinated with signing the 23-year-old. United’s Premier League rivals Arsenal are additionally considered trying on the Dutchman, however Italian giants AC Milan paved the way. The Rossoneri are thought to “stay involved along with his representatives” as per Sky Sports activities. Fellow Italian aspect Juventus are additionally .

A deal for Zirkzee would require golf equipment to activate his launch clause, which is an inexpensive £34m. He has two years left on his present deal at Bologna, however any supply which meets his exit clause means he’ll go away the membership.

How Zirkzee would profit Marcus Rashford

Regardless of lacking out on the Netherlands’ 26-man squad for Euro 2024, Zirkzee’s marketing campaign in 2023/24 was very spectacular. He performed 34 video games for Bologna in Serie A, scoring 11 occasions and registering 5 assists. He additionally scored as soon as and assisted two targets in three Italian Cup matches.

Soccer analyst Ben Mattinson described Zirkzee on X as “one of the vital clever” strikers within the recreation proper now, explaining how the Dutchman is a “facilitator of build-up play” and has “elite spatial consciousness”, two key attributes of the ahead’s recreation which have been on present at Bologna all season lengthy.

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Certainly, Zirkzee is a superb hyperlink participant, capable of drop deep to facilitate teammates and assist spring passes forwards, earlier than entering into the penalty field on the top of passes. That is mirrored in his Fbref stats, with a tally of two.81 progressive passes per 90 minutes displaying simply how nicely he may also help progress play ahead. It locations the attacker within the high 17% of strikers in Europe. He additionally averages 0.91 passes into the penalty field per 90, which ranks him within the high 20% of strikers. His link-up play is second to only a few.

That is actually one thing that might profit Marcus Rashford. The Englishman has performed his finest soccer on the left wing, partnered with a striker who is ready to drop deeper and facilitate his explosive runs from out to in, driving in the direction of the penalty field.

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This was one thing on present with Wout Weghorst in 2022/23 however can also be the rationale Rashford had such a profitable partnership with Anthony Martial, who has just lately left Previous Trafford following the expiration of his contract.

The Frenchman is a grasp at dropping deeper, pulling defenders away to create area and permitting teammates to bounce the ball off him.

His very good link-up participant is a standout characteristic of his recreation, one thing famous in an article by Breaking the Strains in 2020. Rashford and Martial’s joint document reveals how nicely they linked up. The Englishman has mixed with Martial for targets greater than some other participant.

Rashford and Martial joint purpose document

Stat

Quantity

Video games

193

Scored by Rashford, assisted by Martial

7

Scored by Martial, assisted by Rashford

14

Complete

21

Stats from Transfermarkt

That is one thing that Zirkzee might convey to Previous Trafford as soon as extra. He’s additionally very good at dropping deep, pulling defenders away and linking play up. The Dutchman would assist vacate area for Rashford to drive into the penalty field and get his shot away, his best technique of discovering the again of the web.

His heatmap, courtesy of SofaScore, from the 2023/24 Serie A season reveals simply how typically he drops deeper, nearly right into a second-striker function. This may permit Rashford to blow up as a result of he can assault the area the 23-year-old has helped to create.

Zirkzee HM

Zirkzee’s 2.28 stay ball shot-creating actions per 90 minutes present simply how a lot of a profit he might be to Rashford. He ranks within the high 17% of strikers in Europe for this final season, a extremely spectacular attribute, largely due to how simply he may also help create one thing out of nothing.

Signing the Bologna star would permit United to get much more than a striker who scores targets. He’s a special profile to Hojlund, who’s a proficient channel runner, and an professional within the penalty field. Zirkzee provides depth and will get the very best out of one among United’s finest gamers, Rashford.

Marcus Rashford Man United

For a charge of simply £34m, it looks like an excellent deal for INEOS to do. In fact, the competitors from the likes of Arsenal and Milan could be robust, however the Dutchman is a participant who might elevate the United squad to new heights, and assist Rashford rediscover his finest kind.

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