Bayern Munich’s contingency plans should Robert Lewandowski depart this summer may grow thinner. Per Voetbal International, AFC Ajax are looking to replace Borussia Dortmund-bound Sébastien Haller with Joshua Zirkzee, currently on loan at RSC Anderlecht.
The Eredivise side are scrambling to replace all of their losses in this transfer window. Zirkzee has been identified as one half of a potential strike partnership with Brian Brobbey, the RB Leipzig loanee they are also keen to retain.
Zirkzee, 21, has scored four Bundesliga goals for Bayern, but had fallen far down the pecking order by the time he was sent to the Belgian Pro League. At Anderlecht, he enjoyed a revival, with 16 league goals and nine assists over 38 matches played.
With his parent club’s striker situation looking uncertain, there has been hope in some corners that he would bring some of that production back to Bavaria.
Bayern are in a difficult spot with a lot of moving parts at striker. Lewandowski is likely gone, and both Zirkzee and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have contracts expiring next summer. The return of a prodigal son is an attractive proposition, but would need to come with a new deal.
Zirkzee was (overly) harshly criticized for a singular moment of lapsed concentration last preseason, and has demonstrated much-improved professionalism since then. At 6’4” (193cm), he’d add an interesting profile in the box, particularly if a move for VfB Stuttgart’s Saša Kalajdžić never materializes.
But head coach Julian Nagelsmann may not have time to evaluate, and there will be questions of how much his progress is up to Bundesliga standards.
So the issue likely comes down to price. Last year, Ajax acquired winger Mohamed Daramy from Denmark’s F.C. Copenhagen, with two years left on his deal, for a reported €12+1m.
If Ajax are ready to approach that figure, Bayern would do well to accept. Zirkzee’s pathway at Bayern looks narrow enough as it stands, and another bit of clarity may help grease the remaining gears in Bayern’s striker situation.