Manchester United attempted to part-exchange two stars in a bid to lower the cost of signing Rasmus Hojlund who’s already drawing the wrong type of comparisons to Anthony Martial, per a report.
The Red Devils sought to add a potent new striker to their ranks over the summer and initially fixed their gaze on Harry Kane. However, the spiralling cost of signing the England captain – combined with Tottenham’s extreme reluctance to sell within England – made the move unworkable.
Instead, United turned to Denmark international Rasmus Hojlund who joined from Atalanta in a deal worth £72m (including add-ons).
ESPN reported United has originally set an upper limit of £60m for the swoop. Ultimately, they compromised to ensure Erik ten Hag wasn’t caught short up front.
Now, a fresh update from the Athletic has revealed a series of intriguing angles surrounding Hojlund’s switch to Old Trafford.
Fred, Van de Beek snubbed; industry sources think Man Utd overpaid
Firstly, Man Utd reportedly attempted to include midfielders Fred and Donny van de Beek as makeweights to help lower the cost of the deal.
Atalanta refused to entertain that route, instead insisting they would accept cash only. Fred would go on to join Fenerbahce for roughly £8.5m, though a buyer was never found for Van de Beek.
Elsewhere, the Athletic state ‘many in the [football] industry’ regard the £72m fee Man Utd committed to to be ‘excessive’.
Hojlund undoubtedly has bags of potential, though aged just 20, he’s far from the finished article. Additionally, his ‘track record’ of scoring just 10 goals in 34 matches for Atalanta last season did not lend itself to such a lofty price tag.
The final point of interest comes in the form of Hojlund’s move already drawing comparisons with that of Anthony Martial.
Man Utd made Martial the most expensive teenager at that time back in 2015 when paying an initial £36m to pluck the Frenchman from Monaco.
The fee ultimately rose to £44.7m through add-ons and Martial’s record over his seven-plus-year stint with United stands at 88 goals in 303 appearances.
While that’s not a poor return by any means, the Athletic suggest it is ‘a ratio that many would regard as failing to match the money paid or level of expectation.’
Somewhat worryingly for United, it’s then claimed the perceived overpayment on Hojlund is already baring similarities to Martial’s move from Monaco.