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Manchester United ropes in Denmark striker Hojlund

Manchester United have signed Denmark striker Rasmus Hojlund from Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract until 2028, the Premier League club said on August 5, 2023.

Manchester United have signed Denmark striker Rasmus Hojlund from Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract until 2028, the Premier League club said on August 5, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Manchester United sealed their swoop for Denmark striker Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta for a reported fee of £64 million ($82 million) on Saturday.

Hojlund agreed a five-year contract with the option of a further season as United manager Erik ten Hag finally got his wish to bring in a striker ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

The 20-year-old could cost United a further £8 million if add-on clauses in his contract are met.

“It is no secret that I have been a fan of this great club since I was a small boy and I dreamed of walking out at Old Trafford as a Manchester United player,” Hojlund said.

“I am incredibly excited by this opportunity to turn that dream into a reality and I am determined to repay the faith that the club has shown in me.

“It is still early in my career, but I know that I am ready to make this step up and play with this group of world-class players.”

Hojlund was introduced to United supporters on the Old Trafford pitch ahead of their 3-1 friendly victory over Lens just hours after his signing was confirmed.

Ten Hag made Hojlund his top target after United reportedly refused to pay Tottenham’s asking price for England striker Harry Kane, who appears bound for German champions Bayern Munich.

French champions Paris Saint Germain were also said to be in the hunt for Hojlund’s signature before United won the race.

Ten Hag was keen to boost his striking options after a season in which his side often lacked a cutting edge.

United finished third in the Premier League but scored just 58 goals — 36 fewer than champions Manchester City.

Although Hojlund has a low profile compared to many of his new team-mates, Ten Hag is confident he can thrive under the Old Trafford spotlight.

“He is a real frontman. Very direct to the goal, very good presser, a physical presence,” Ten Hag said.

“He wants to score goals. I think he has huge potential. And now it’s up to him first, to explore that and we will support him, all the coaches.

“The team was waiting for a type like him. They will integrate him in the dressing room and in the pitch, they will help him.”

Hojlund has enjoyed a sudden rise since starting his career in relative obscurity with Danish club FC Copenhagen in 2020.

He moved on to Austrian side Sturm Graz, where his 12 goals in 21 games convinced Atalanta to sign him in August 2022.

He scored 10 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions for the Italian team last season, catching Ten Hag’s eye in the process.

Physical presence

Standing 6ft 2ins tall, Hojlund, who has scored six times in his six games for Denmark, should have the physical presence to cope with the aggressive approach of Premier League defenders.

As well as his imposing physique, he is also blessed with blistering pace and predatory instincts in the penalty area.

Hojlund’s Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini likened him to Manchester City’s record-breaking striker Erling Haaland, whose goals helped United’s rivals win the treble last term.

In his maiden season in charge, Ten Hag led United to their first trophy in six years when they beat Newcastle in the League Cup final in February.

But the Dutch coach wants a sustained title challenge this term and Hojlund will be expected to make an instant impact after his signing took Ten Hag’s close-season spending over £160 million.

Hojlund is the third major arrival at Old Trafford since last season after the signings of Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount and Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana.

The Danish striker could make his competitive debut for United against Wolves at Old Trafford in their opening Premier League fixture on August 14.

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