HomeFeatured ArticlesManchester United's £60m Pursuit: Rasmus Hojlund is the Next Big Star

Manchester United’s £60m Pursuit: Rasmus Hojlund is the Next Big Star

Hojlund a Top Target

Rasmus Hojlund has been at the top of Manchester United’s list of striker targets this summer. BBC Sport report that they are reluctant to meet the asking price of £60 million. Atalanta are thought to be close to the signing of El Bilal Toure from Almeria and that could help a compromise be reached in the negotiations over Hojlund.

Manchester United missed out on Erling Haaland a year ago, as he joined local rivals Manchester City. They will hope that they can have their own Scandinavian striker in Hojlund and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Atalanta forward.

A Big Price for Big Talent

The reason why a £60 million price tag might be steep for Manchester United is that Hojlund has only had one full season in a top European league. However, 20-year-old strikers with his skill set cost a lot in the current market.

Since joining the Serie A club for €17 million, Hojlund has impressed in Italy. In his debut season, he scored nine in 32 matches. These came at a rate of one every 204 minutes. Given his age, that is highly impressive.

A Potential United Fit

The Denmark international is still developing physically and will become a more dominant presence in the coming years. Hojlund does feel like a good tactical fit for Manchester United, as they want a striker who can score goals and link-up play. Anybody that watched Atalanta last season would have noticed that Ademola Lookman and Jeremie Boga benefitted from the space that the striker created. He is able to drop deep and engage in the build up play.

Last season, he did two assists from 2.4 expected assisted goals (xAG), showing that he does contribute in breaking teams down. Hojlund relishes being the one getting on the end of chances, but he isn’t selfish. 2.75 shot creating actions per ninety minutes underlines that.

Hojlund averages 1.82 progressive passes and 1.96 progressive carries. The Dane is active in the build up and can progress the ball in multiple ways. That will appeal a lot to Erik ten Hag.

Decision Making in Goal Scoring

In terms of his goal-scoring, what stands out with Hojlund is how he adds value with his shots. His average of 2.65 shots per ninety minutes only places him in the 56th percentile. However, he averages 0.47 non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per ninety minutes, which ranks him in the 84th percentile. This underlines his decision making. He only takes shots from dangerous locations and if there is a better option available to him, he will pass it.

Due to his inexperience at the highest level, Hojlund isn’t the most proficient off the ball. He needs to be coached when to press and how to engage in a defensive structure. There is willingness, but it isn’t a strength. With more experience, you would expect an improvement here.

Hojlund vs Haaland

Although he is another Scandinavian striker, there shouldn’t be too many comparisons made between him and Haaland. Hojlund is less experienced and is a lot more raw. He will need to develop physically to thrive in the Premier League. However, the tools are there for him to become one of the best forwards in Europe.

Cristiano Ronaldo was a goal-scorer, while Wout Weghorst was excellent off the ball and in the build up. However, both had obvious weaknesses in Manchester United’s system. It will be hoped that they can find a striker who can score goals and bring out the team in the rest of the team. It is difficult to find strikers at the very highest level.

They clearly view Hojlund as the right option. He is only 20 and will need to be developed correctly. However, the tools are there for him to be worth the big outlay.

Stats taken from fbref (powered by Opta)

More News