A high profile Manchester United player has seemingly earned a reprieve, with the club now set to retain a star they would’ve gladly taken £25m for, per a report.
The Red Devils announced the £72m acquisition of Rasmus Hojlund earlier on Saturday. The Denmark international was paraded at Old Trafford prior to their 3-1 friendly victory over Lens.
Hojlund has signed a five-year deal with a club option for a sixth. Given the hefty outlay, many will assume Hojlund walks straight into the starting eleven once a minor injury issue is overcome.
However, it might not be that simple, with ESPN recently reporting Hojlund is seen as something of a gamble by Old Trafford chiefs.
Harry Kane was their preferred choice and few come with a safer guarantee of goals than the Tottenham talisman.
By contrast, Hojlund notched just nine goals in 32 matches for Atalanta in Serie A last season. Given he’s not yet the finished article, ESPN suggested Marcus Rashford may yet get his fair share of minutes up front while Hojlund is eased in.
ESPN also claimed the decision to sign Hojlund could have ramifications for Anthony Martial. Per the report, the Frenchman, 27, could now be retained beyond the summer window.
Now, a fresh update from the Daily Mail has echoed many of ESPN’s claims. However, they also suggest the memory of a failed signing could factor into Ten Hag’s thinking on Martial too.
Weghorst disaster and Hojlund punt spark Martial U-turn
Firstly, the Mail state Man Utd were open to selling Martial if receiving bids of around £25m this summer. The Manchester Evening News is another outlet who have insisted Martial was up for sale earlier in the window.
However, the new update states Martial ‘looks set to play at least some sort of role’ at Man Utd next season.
The Frenchman will likely be installed as Hojlund’s back-up, thus allowing Rashford to remain in the left wing role. Rashford recently declared that position to be his favourite when speaking on Gary Neville’s Overlap channel on YouTube.
Furthermore, the Mail suggested the damp squib that was Wout Weghorst’s loan spell will also embolden Man Utd to retain Martial.
The giant Dutchman arrived on loan last January, and while he earned Ten Hag’s trust, he fluffed his lines in front of goal.
Weghorst failed to break his duck in the Premier League despite racking up 17 outings. The centre-forward scored just twice in 31 appearances across all competitions.
Further explaining Man Utd’s U-turn on selling Martial, the Mail conclude: ‘[Man Utd] really don’t want to be bringing a Wout Weghorst-type forward in on loan come January again.’