Manchester United transfer rumours continued to tick along over the festive break, and while no deals look even remotely close to being done, speculation is ongoing all the same.
One piece of speculation which is impossible to ignore are rumours linking Manchester United to Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid Florian Wirtz.
The Sun claim United boss Ralf Rangnick is interested in doing a £60 million deal for the 18-year-old playmaker, who is already a German international.
On one hand, the rumours are par for the course. A German boss linked with signing the country’s top young talent, fairly predictable fare. On the other hand, why wouldn’t Rangnick look into potentially doing a deal for Wirtz, who could become a truly special player?
So one way or another, Wirtz is a player you need to know about. He is likely to become of Europe’s top players over the next decade, whether it is for United or not.
Florian Wirtz factfile
1) Wirtz already has four German international caps at the age of 18, having made his debut for his country in September.
2) The teenager is already having a major impact on club matches. In 21 games this season Wirtz has scored eight goals and provided 11 assists. These include three Europa League goals, and Bundesliga strikes against Dortmund and RB Leipzig.
3) Wirtz plays as a central attacking midfielder, where he could play alongside Bruno Fernandes in United’s 4-2-2-2 formation. He has also started three games this season as a striker.
4) Wirtz became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer at just 17 with a strike against Bayern Munich, curling a shot past Manuel Neuer.
5) Bayer Leverkusen have Wirtz under contract until 2026, extending his deal at the club earlier this year.
Wirtz’s fan club
The sheer scale of praise for Wirtz already shows how highly rated he is, which includes one prediction he could become Germany’s best ever player. That’s a huge prediction considering the talent they have had over the years.
Germany boss Hansi Flick told Sport1 “His goal rate and participation are outstanding for his age.
Flick told Bundesliga.com: “Florian is a huge asset for this team through his carefreeness. He’s simply an outstanding technician, loves to play, very creative, has a good shot, runs hard and is quick. He’s got a good total package.”
Bayer Leverkusen youth coach Patrick Helmes told Sport1. “(Wirtz) has huge talent. He could have gone to Liverpool, to Bavaria or to Dortmund. Everyone wanted the boy.”
“You can write that down. He’ll be much better than Kai Havertz in any case. At a young age he has all the skills to play between the lines, to find the right solution and excel in the small spaces.
“(He’s got) a good shot, good link-up play, he’s strong one on one. He’s a real number ten.”
Lothar Matthaus told Bundesliga.com: “He will go the same way as Havertz. In a few years, we will see him play for the German national team and we’ll see him play for a big, big team in Europe.”
- 4-3-3: Predicted Manchester United XI v West Ham, Greenwood at 9
- Rangnick says he is happy with Manchester United star but calls on him to improve defensively
- Manchester United talent scores twice on under-23 return after loan recall
- Rangnick says Cristiano Ronaldo has a new injury and issues fitness latest on Scott McTominay
- Ralf Rangnick confirms two Manchester United starters vs West Ham