Manchester United have endured a rather inconsistent start to the new campaign, with positive results often followed by setbacks. The form in the Premier League over the last month has been decent, but Erik ten Hag will be desperate for his side to get a good run of games under their belt across all competitions.
The Red Devils have found their feet in front of goal recently, especially in Europe, but they have struggled overall domestically, netting just 1.38 goals per game.
Two of United’s biggest goal sources, Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford, are experiencing a drought, with creativity solely lying on the shoulders of Bruno Fernandes. With that in mind, Man United may look to acquire another maestro in the form of Florian Wirtz.
Man Utd transfer news – Florian Wirtz
According to Sky Sports Germany, Manchester United will battle the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid for the signature of the talented attacking midfielder.
The scouts at the Manchester club are watching Wirtz, but they are yet to make contact with Bayer Leverkusen or the players’ representatives.
Wirtz is priced at an astounding £103m as he is an integral part of Xabi Alonso’s side and as per Florian Plettenberg, “Leverkusen can have legitimate hopes that he will stay for at least one more season.”
How Florian Wirtz compares to Bruno Fernandes
Hansi Flick classed Wirtz as an “outstanding technician”, which perfectly describes the 20-year-old. The artist views the pitch as a blank canvas with endless possibilities and he is producing incredible numbers for someone so young.
Across the 18 matches he has played in all competitions this season, the number ten has contributed to 16 goals, scoring six and assisting ten. Furthermore, he has the joint most goal contributions in the UEFA Europa League (6) despite only starting three matches.
Just like Bruno Fernandes, Wirtz is the heartbeat of his side, taking on the majority of the creative responsibility.
The two players’ passing stats are almost identical, ranking above 90 percentiles, as per FBref, in progressive passes, passes into the final third, and key passes. It is no wonder that the Leverkusen star has been labelled “extraordinary” by Leverkusen’s Sporting Director Simon Rolfes, however, they do differ in their style of play slightly both in and out of possession.
Firstly, Bruno usually creates with his wonderful vision and passing range, but he doesn’t use dribbling to open up opponents, completing just 0.69 successful take-ons per match, which is nowhere near Wirtz’s 3.36.
Manchester United severely lack dribblers who can make defenders commit and open up space for teammates. On the other hand, Wirtz is far less involved off the ball than Bruno is, which may be due to Leveruksen’s dominance and the fact that the Red Devils tend to have less possession this season. This is evidenced by the number eight completing a combined tackles and interceptions per game of three and the German registering just 0.69.
Wirtz is a star, a player that can play in multiple roles with ease which would allow him to slot into the Manchester United team, either in midfield or attack. Partnering him alongside the United captain would make Ten Hag’s side far less predictable in attack.
The addition of Wirtz would also bring the best out of misfiring Hojlund, who can use his incredible link-up play to devastating effect, as we saw in the build-up to Garnacho’s opener against Galatasaray. It would be an incredible signing – one that transforms the team as Fernandes did all those years ago – but the boss would have to slightly modify his tactics to fit both the Portuguese and Wirtz in.