After a bright spell midway through the 2019/2020 season for Bayern Munich, it just didn’t quite work out for Joshua Zirkzee. He scored a handful of goals right at the end of the Hinrunde of that season and was deputized during a brief injury spell for Robert Lewandowski, but the hype surrounding the youngster outweighed what he was able to deliver on the pitch. Thankfully, his current loan spell as RSC Anderlecht seems to be going much better than his loan at Parma. In a recent interview with Dutch outlet HLN (via Sport Witness), he even revealed that he was close to joining Everton before Bayern signed him.
At the time just before Bayern signed Zirkzee, he was impressing at Feyenoord’s youth teams. He was officially singed by Bayern in the summer of 2018 to play for the U-17s and worked his way through the ranks, eventually getting his chance in Bayern’s senior squad in the 2019/2020 season under Hansi Flick. Before he signed for Bayern, he said, Everton was really pursuing him. “I could have also gone to Everton, they pressed hard, but breaking through in England, that’s complex. Bayern for me was…different. They wanted me very much; Feyenoord did not.”
Bayren’s model for integrating and developing youth talents in their youth teams is one of the best in European football and is likely a big part of the reason why Zirkzee was enticed to join. A clear visions and career path was outlined in detail, but of course, it doesn’t always work out the way it was drawn out to. This is something he felt he deserved at Feyenoord after a strong season with their U16’s, but didn’t exactly get, which frustrated him. “With the U16, I had finished a strong season, I felt I should be rewarded for that – which did happen with teammates. However, the talks with the club management showed that I still had to be patient,” he explained.
His chance certainly came at Bayern under Hansi Flick after working his way through Bayern’s youth and reserve teams, but he fizzled out after that stretch in the treble-winning season. Still, though, he said he had to take the chance knowing that the right opportunities didn’t seem like they were coming at Feyenoord. “Feyenoord was my club, but if it didn’t come, I had to consider other options. Bayern made great efforts. Who would say no then,” he said.
In hindsight, with the talent Everton has brought in over the past couple of transfer windows, it seems that it would’ve been difficult to break through into the first team as quickly as he did at Bayern.