Meet Rasmus Hojlund, the 20-year-old striker for whom Man Utd has been instructed to pay £85m

Manchester United’s search for a new influential center-forward is well-known, given their goal-scoring struggles in the previous season.

Among the potential candidates, Rasmus Hojlund has emerged as a target, particularly as Scandinavian strikers have been highly sought after in recent times.

At just 20 years old, Hojlund is a rising star currently playing for Atalanta in Italy.

Manchester United’s interest in him has intensified after a move for their initial target, Harry Kane, became unrealistic under the circumstances.

According toLaurie WhitwellofThe Athletic, the 13-time Premier League champions have proposed players in a part-exchange deal for the sought after forward gem, Hojlund.

Despite Manchester United’s interest in Rasmus Hojlund, Atalanta is demanding a cash-only deal and has set a price tag of £85.85 million for the talented Danish forward.

United’s reported limited budget of around £100 million for the transfer window may potentially hinder their ability to secure the deal.

As a result, the club is exploring the possibility of swap deals as an alternative approach to strengthen their squad during the summer transfer window.

The potential transfer of Andre Onana to Manchester United could further impact the club’s available funds.

In light of this, it would be prudent for the Old Trafford outfit to consider offloading some of their surplus or underutilized players in exchange.

However, it is worth noting that Atalanta remains steadfast in their demand for a cash payment rather than player swaps.

Manchester United will need to carefully manage their financial resources to navigate these circumstances effectively.

The pursuit of Andre Onana from Inter Milan has raised concerns that Manchester United’s search for a new striker is being delayed while the goalkeeper situation is being addressed.

However, considering the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wout Weghorst in the past year, coupled with Anthony Martial’s inconsistency, acquiring Rasmus Hojlund should be a priority on United’s list of potential signings.

Strengthening their attacking options is crucial given the current circumstances, making Hojlund an appealing target for the club.

Without further ado, let’s delve into the beginning of his career, his exploits on the international stage, and whether he can be named Erling Haaland 2.0?

Rasmus Hojlund’s career so far

Rasmus Hojlund’s football journey started in his homeland at his childhood club, Copenhagen, where he made his debut in late 2020.

However, he had a limited role at the Danish club, starting in only five of his 32 appearances.

Hojlund has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of support he received during his time at Copenhagen, highlighting the challenges he faced while trying to establish himself there.

In the January 2022 transfer window, Rasmus Hojlund received an opportunity from SK Sturm Graz, which became a turning point in his career and brought him attention from top clubs across Europe. Although his time in Austria was brief, lasting only six months, Hojlund showcased his talent by contributing to 16 goals (12 goals and four assists) in 21 games.

Following his impressive performances, Atalanta swiftly secured his services for what now seems like a bargain price of £15 million.

Since joining Atalanta, Hojlund has established himself as a regular player at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia and his performances have attracted the interest of Manchester United, a footballing powerhouse.

Despite his relatively low-profile move to Atalanta, Hojlund has managed to score 10 goals and provide four assists in 34 appearances, showcasing his growing impact at the club.

Often at Atalanta, Hojlund has typically been used as a second striker alongside one of Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel and Ademola Lookman in a two-man partnership up top, hence why his goalscoring record doesn’t set the world alight.

Now, however, a chance to lead the line as a lone striker at one of the sport’s biggest clubs has arisen.

Style of play

While one would assume he is likely to operate using his towering frame, the Dane typically boasts a subpar aerial win rate.

Instead, he prefers to roam deeper to link players together, whether that be with a supporting striker or with the wingers on either flank. Using his size, he can be utilised as his side’s central outlet to hold the ball up. He’s an absolute nuisance to play against, basically!

Technically and positionally sound, Hojlund has no issue with finding vacant space and getting shots away at the earliest convenience, which, in turn, boosts his chances of catching opposing defenders and goalkeepers off guard.

Playing in a top two in a 3-5-2 formation has allowed the variation of his game to develop in abundance in Bergamo, rather than just his pure goalscoring ability. His ball progression capability makes him an ideal creative hub for others, particularly when his side is breaking at pace.

His shot versatility makes him a highly adaptable asset too, as he is known to finish with a curling effort, a soaring header, or a long-ranger screamer with each side of his body as familiar as the other.

You can watch him in action below.

Watch: Compilation of Rasmus Hojlund’s best bits of 2023

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