This summer chase lasted so long that now Winther is coming. Rasmus Winther Hojlund (£7.0m), that is.
For a fee that could become a massive £72m, Manchester United have finally secured the signing of a desperately needed centre-forward.
Based more on potential rather than a proven goal-scoring record, Erik ten Hag has placed lot of faith in this Danish international, who was paraded around the Old Trafford pitch before Sunday’s friendly against Lens.
So can the 20-year-old justify such a gamble and what impact will he have in FPL?
We’ll attempt to answer those questions below.
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Hojlund – whose name is pronounced with a silent D – is about to play for his fourth club in just 20 months. It’s been a fast rise, despite struggling to get game time at hometown side FC Copenhagen.
He broke into their team aged 17 but started just five of his 32 appearances, never scoring a domestic goal. At least Hojlund received a winner’s medal for the 2021/22 Superligaen, although he’d already moved on by then.
|2022/23||Atalanta||Serie A||20 (12)||9||4|
|2022/23||Sturm Graz||Austrian Bundesliga||4 (1)||3||2|
|2021/22||Sturm Graz||Austrian Bundesliga||13 (0)||6||1|
|2021/22||FC Copenhagen||Superligaen||1 (14)||0||0|
January 2022 brought a move to Austrian outfit Sturm Graz, who saw enough potential to make him their most expensive signing in almost 20 years.
A dozengoals in 21 matches ensured it was money well spent, as they turned a quick profit by selling him to Atalanta for ten times as much only seven months later.
The first half-season saw Hojlund in and out of the Bergamo side’s starting line-up. He soon found his way, netting in four successive January outings but delivered a disappointing two from the closing nine.
It’s huge money for a not particuarly impressive record of 18 goals from 69 league appearances. Yet it seems to be the trend for English clubs to commit massive amounts on new, unproven talent. Chelsea’s Mykhaylo Mudryk (£6.5m) was signed for £88m based on just 65 matches in all competitions. Then, new guy Nicolas Jackson (£7.0m) arrives with only one season of top-flight experience.
Things have been more explosive for Denmark, though. Six goals from six caps, including a hat-trick during his first start against Finland.
It’s such a small sample size, especially when he’s frequently compared to Erling Haaland (£14.0m). Whilst both are Scandinavian, left-footed forwards with a similar surname, blonde hair and success in Austria’s Bundesliga, the Manchester City monster had already accumulated 44 top-flight goals and 10 in the Champions League by his 20th birthday.
But his new manager ten Hag is used to moulding young talent from his Ajax days. He spots something special in Hojlund.
“He is a real frontman. Very direct to the goal, very good presser, a physical presence. I think in the balance of this squad, we needed that, alongside Rashford, another player who is direct and can score a goal. That is all in his mind: 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. 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.” – Erik ten Hag
As he says, Hojlund is ideal for Man United’s quick, direct attacks due to his blistering pace and willingness to run in from behind.
However, he also has a penalty area presence that can be useful versus deep-defending opponents. Attacking crosses is a regularly-seen strength but not so much with his head, despite being 6ft 3in tall.
“He has a great future at the highest European level ahead of him. His mindset, his personality and his skills, with all his speed, power, depth, force and quality before the goal, makes him a total package.” – Sturm Graz sporting director Andreas Schicker
Above: The 2022/23 percentage of shots on target for those with at least 35 goal attempts
In the 2022/23 Serie A campaign, 51.9% of Hojlund’s 54 total shots were on target, a rate bettered by only Roberto Firmino and Ollie Watkins (£8.0m) from those Premier League players with at least 35 attempts.
Furthermore, just Victor Osimhen and Lautaro Martinez achieved more shots on target per 90 than Hojlund’s 1.37.
WHERE RASMUS HOJLUND FITS IN AT MAN UNITED
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