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Zlatan Ibrahimovic responds to Manchester United beating AC Milan to Joshua Zirkzee transfer


Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee

Manchester United are pressing ahead to sign Joshua Zirkzee from Bologna (Getty)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed that AC Milan are out of the running to sign Joshua Zirkzee ahead of Manchester United.

The Serie A club had held extensive talks to sign Zirkzee, who has a €40 million (£33.7m) release clause in his contract with Bologna, and it’s understood that they had agreed personal terms with the striker last month.

However, reports in Italy claimed that the deal was being held up over AC Milan’s refusal to pay an additional €15 million (£12.6m) in commission to Zirkzee’s representative Kia Joorabchian.

That delay has allowed United to make their move and after being convinced during direct talks with Erik ten Hag, Zirkzee is now set to join the Premier League side, who have informed Bologna that they are ready to trigger his release clause.

Ibrahimovic, who is AC Milan’s senior adviser, claims the Italian club are now working on signing another striker instead of Zirkzee.

‘I can guarantee that new signings will arrive. We are talking, discussing. There is nothing done,’ Ibrahimovic said on Monday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says AC Milan’s move for Joshua Zirkzee ‘is in the past’ (AC Milan)

‘Zirkzee is in the past. We have one in mind, but I will not say the name. There is someone we are aiming for.

‘To sign players you also have to create space. We don’t want to have a squad of 30 players, but 23. The new signings will arrive, but we also have to create space so as not to have too many players who are not functional to the coach.

‘We have to think not only about who comes in, but also about who will leave. Whoever arrives is to improve the team, everything is designed to improve the roster. It’s not just sign, sign, sign, we don’t have to have 40-50 players like in American soccer.’

Asked if he felt disappointed by the demands of Joorabchian during the negotiations for Zirkzee, Ibrahimovic replied: ‘No. Never disappointed. This is part of football. Reality and rumours are two different things.

‘There are agents who solve problems and agents who create problems. In this case it was neither.

‘The rumours that were going around were not the same as reality. We have an idea for the attack, we hope it comes in as quickly as possible.’

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