Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Surprise Ten Hag plan for Hojlund revealed, as Man Utd perform transfer U-turn

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

How Erik ten Hag plans to utilise Rasmus Hojlund next season has been revealed, and the Dutchman’s thinking is set to prompt a U-turn involving a forward already at Man Utd, per a report.

Hojlund, 20, is edging ever closer to joining Manchester United. Indeed, the Dane was left out of Atalanta’s friendly with Bournemouth on Saturday to ensure he didn’t pick up an injury that could torpedo the move.

Furthermore, Fabrizio Romano reported Atalanta and Man Utd were closing in on an agreement over the transfer fee. Personal terms are already agreed, while Atalanta announced the signing of Hojlund’s replacement on Saturday afternoon.

All the signs thus point to Hojlund lining up at Old Trafford next season. However, according to ESPN, those hoping to see the bulldozing forward week in, week out could be in for a shock.

Indeed, ESPN reported there is ‘an acceptance’ within Man Utd that signing Hojlund is a gamble.

The striker scored 16 goals between stints at Sturm Graz and Atalanta last season. However, his record in the tougher Italian league after joining Atalanta stood at just 10 goals in 34 matches.

Harry Kane was known to be Ten Hag’s dream signing in the position. However, Tottenham are dead set against selling their talisman and would be even more reluctant to strengthen a domestic rival in the process.

As such, Hojlund is the player United turned to given he’ll also cost a far cheaper sum than Kane or fellow target Randal Kolo Muani, for example.

A fee in the region of €60m-€70m should get a deal done. However, despite the sizeable outlay, ESPN report it’s Marcus Rashford who is expected to get more than his fair share of starts at centre-forward next season.

That’s because Ten Hag reportedly plans to integrate Hojlund into his starting eleven gradually as he gets accustomed to the far sterner Premier League.

Anthony Martial set to be retained

There’s another knock-on effect of Man Utd planning to take it slow and steady with Hojlund too.

Per the report, United are now ‘willing to keep hold of Anthony Martial as another experienced option at centre forward’.

The Frenchman was widely speculated to be on the chopping block this summer. He perhaps would’ve been had Man Utd signed a proven player such as Kane, but Hojlund represents less of a sure thing.

As such, Martial now looks in line to be retained and will serve as a back-up option to Rashford and Hojlund through the middle.

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