Ralf Rangnick is looking to raid the Bundesliga for Manchester United, including a move for £60million-rated Florian Wirtz.
Manager Rangnick is due to be in charge until the end of the season, however, that’s not stopped the Premier League club from being linked to signings that would serve them for the long-term.
The Sun reports that Bayer Leverkusen teenager Wirtz – described as the best young German midfielder in decades by ex-Liverpool star Didi Hamann – is Rangnick’s no.1 target.
It’s been a productive season so far for Wirtz, who has 13 goal involvements (five goals and eight assists) in the Bundesliga – more than any player under the age of 21 in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues.
Most goal involvements when under 21 in 2021/22
*In Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1
Florian Wirtz (13) – 5 goals, 8 assists
Hugo Ekitike (10) – 8 goals, 2 assists
Bukayo Saka (7) – 3 goals, 4 assists
Jamal Musiala (7) – 3 goals, 4 assists
Jude Bellingham (7) – 2 goals, 5 assists
The 18-year-old has been linked with other top European clubs but the player has suggested he’d like to continue his development in the German top flight.
Wirtz made his debut just three weeks after his 17th birthday and became his nation’s youngest-ever Under-21 international at the same age. He has since been called up into Germany’s senior squad.
And he’d be set to cost Man United a pretty penny with his Leverkusen contract lasting until June 2026, making a summer deal more likely than a January one but Rangnick is hopeful he can persuade the player to come over.
Man United already had a scouting operation in January, which is said to have stepped up since Rangnick arrived. He will move to a consultancy role at the end of the season, meaning he will have a big say on recruitments.
A club source told the newspaper: “The new manager knows practically everybody in German football and there is huge excitement behind the scenes about what it could mean for United in the next few years.
“Germany is a hotbed of talent and he has already flagged up a handful of names. Everyone is hoping Rangnick can help United steal a march on some of our rivals.”
Rangnick is also rumoured to be after Luca Netz, Eric Martel and Armel Bella-Kotchap.
Netz, an 18-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach left-back, was previously at Hertha Berlin.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Martel is on loan at Austria Vienna from RB Leipzig. He’s a defensive midfielder who can also play at centre-back.
And France-born Bella-Kotchap, 20, played a big role in Bochum’s promotion to the Bundesliga last season.
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