Arsenal could land striker ‘better than Haaland' after seven year wait

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Arsenal could land striker ‘better than Haaland' after seven year wait
Joshua Zirkzee

Arsenal are reportedly interested in Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee. The 22-year-old was a player that the Gunners battled Manchester United and Everton for in 2017.

 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is reportedly eyeing a move for £50million-rated Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee.

 

The Gunners have faced criticism for their profligacy in recent weeks as they go into the winter break on the back of the three straight defeats - two in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup. Brentford talisman Ivan Toney and France icon Karim Benzema have been mooted as possible January additions to bolster their forward-line going into the business end of the season.

 

Arsenal's need for another forward has led to new name being touted with a move to the Emirates Stadium. The latest is Zirkzee, who is said to be available for around £50million, after Serie A side Bologna slapped the price-tag on his services.

 

Joshua Orobosa Zirkzee is a 6ft 4in striker from Schiedam, west of Rotterdam, in Holland. The 22-year-old has featured throughout the age groups in the Dutch national team from under-15 to the under-21s, where he netted seven goals in 19 appearances.

 

Zirkzee was born to a Nigerian mother and Dutch father and began his footballing journey as a five-year-old with VV Hekelingen before moving to Spijkenisse. He moved into Spartaan '20 youth team before signing for ADO Den Haag in 2013.

 

After three years with Den Haag, he made the move to the highly-rated Feyenoord academy. But he spent one year in the Rotterdam youth factory that has nurtured talents such as Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Robin Van Persie and more recently, Gini Wijnaldum, Jurrien Timber and Tyrell Malacia.

 

His goalscoring exploits quickly earned him suitors from around Europe - including Arsenal and Manchester United - before Bayern Munich won the race for his signature.

 

Prior to his move, in the summer of 2017, Everton raced to the front of the queue ahead of their Premier League rivals in a move orchestrated by Ronald Koeman, who viewed him as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, but a failed trial period paved way for a move to Bayern.

Zirkzee spent three years with Bayern Munich's third division side, scoring six goals in 32 league appearances for the club. During his four-year spell in Bavaria, his stint consisted of loan spells with Parma and Belgian side Anderlecht, where he struck up a partnership with Manchester City icon Vincent Kompany.

 

His short spell in Italy with Parma was curtailed, after a deadline day move in 2021, within three months after suffering a lateral collateral ligament injury which limited him to four appearances - all as a substitute.

 

He did manage to make his first-team debut at the Allianz Arena, before going on to make 17 appearances, scoring four times and assisting once.

 

As would be the case for any striker playing for Bayern Munich, Zirkzee failed to usurp prolific talisman Robert Lewandowski. Ultimately, his form suffered as he was handed opportunities in Munich and he departed on a permanent deal to Bologna in 2022.

 

Remaining on the topic of the Polish striker, with his stature, power and ability to put the ball in the back of the net, Zirkzee was seen as a possible like-for-like for Lewandowski.

When the now-Barcelona forward injured his knee, Flick called upon Zirkzee as a valid replacement - and he proved he could cut it in the German top-flight scoring important goals in wins over Freiburg and Wolfsburg in 2019.

 

The 22-year-old is an adaptable forward, whether he is deployed as a target man or a link-up striker. Zirkzee has showed on numerous occasions the versatility to his game - with good feet to match.

 

After initially struggling in his debut season i Rossoblu, he has exploded into life under Thiago Motta this season. His powerful bursts forward and marksman-like finishing have fired him into the conversation.

 

This season, he has seven goals in 19 appearances for Motta's side, including a brace in the 2-1 win over Salernitana.

 

Voetbal International reporter Souleyman Ozturk claimed that Zirksee was better than Manchester City star Erling Haaland 'at everything' in 2022.

He said: "Zirkzee is better than Erling Haaland at everything. Now you may be dismayed because of this statement. But I will frame it. (Zirkzee) has vision, technique, strength, charisma, flair, footballing ability. He is therefore better than Haaland in almost everything.

"Imagine if Zirkzee had the energy and focus of Haaland. Then he would be the best striker in the world."

Bologna director Marco Di Vaio described him as a "unique player" after he was forced to weather questions over his future at the end of December.

 

"For the other clubs the price is open" he said. "In January our top players will not move. How many phone calls have we received? None. And we wouldn’t answer anyway. Joshua doesn’t resemble anyone — he’s a unique player."

 

Bayern academy manager Jochen Sauer told Kicker in 2019: "Joshua is a great striker, that's why we brought him from Feyenoord to Munich. He is a striker type that is no longer so common today: tall, athletic, but still technically strong."

Source: Arsenal - Football.London

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