Manchester United want Rasmus Hojlund for start of Premier League as £51.4m deal offered

Rasmus Hojlund – Manchester United want Rasmus Hojlund for start of Premier League as £51.4m deal offered

Rasmus Hojlund scored eight goals in 31 league games for Atalanta last season – Getty Images/Francesco Scaccianoce

Manchester United are confident Erik ten Hag can fulfil Rasmus Hojlund’s full potential as they prepare to gamble on the Denmark striker rather than move for Harry Kane.

Talks with Atalanta over Hojlund are advancing, with United quietly optimistic they can strike a deal with the Italian club in time for their opening game of the new Premier League season, against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on Aug 14.

United are proposing a total package worth €60 million (£51.4 million), with £42.8 million payable upfront and a further £8.6 million in add ons. Atalanta want more but United hope to reach a compromise and are clear they will not pay more than £60 million for the 20-year-old.

Atalanta are thought to be closing in on an agreement with Almeria for striker El Bilal Toure as a replacement for Hojlund in a signal that they are gearing up to sell the Dane.

United’s move for Hojlund will be seen as a risk by many, particularly when Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has been told by the club’s former owner Joe Lewis to sell Kane if he cannot persuade the England captain to sign a new contract.

Hojlund has played fewer than 90 senior matches in Denmark, Austria and Italy and managed just nine goals in Serie A last season.

United are thought to be aware of the risks but believe Hojlund offers plenty of promise, has a strong work ethic and good character and would back Ten Hag’s skills as a coach to bring out the best in the youngster.

There is also a feeling that Ten Hag could start Marcus Rashford on occasion upfront given Hojlund’s inexperience if required. Anthony Martial is working his way back to fitness and the France striker will be another option available to Ten Hag assuming he is not sold in this window.

Unlike any move for Kane, United would not have to sell to buy Hojlund but the club are expected to fetch enough through sales before the close of the window that a bid for the £100 million-rated Tottenham striker would not have been totally beyond reach.

As things stand, though, Bayern Munich have a free run at Kane – the Bundesliga champions’ top target – with United having seemingly resolved that they do not want to become embroiled in a stand-off with Levy.

Ten Hag admitted after United’s 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid at the NRG Stadium in Houston in the early hours of Thursday, when his side again failed to convert chances, that he needs “more players capable one on one”.

Asked if he could get a striker in before the Wolves game, the United manager said it was “always difficult to see” as he motioned with his hands that he did not have a crystal ball but insisted the club were working “24/7” to get a deal done. “We do a lot in the club, we’re doing all in our power to get this done,” he added. “We are busy with it.”

United suffered a blow against Real when Kobbie Mainoo was substituted after just four minutes with a foot injury after a collision with Rodrygo. The 18-year-old midfielder left the NRG Stadium on crutches with his left foot in a protective boot and Ten Hag said they would not have to await the outcome of further tests before determining the extent of the injury.

Kobbie Mainoo – Manchester United want Rasmus Hojlund for start of Premier League as £51.4m deal offered

Kobbie Mainoo has been one of the stars of the US tour with Ten Hag trusting him in four of United’s five friendlies so far – Getty Images/Matthew Peters

Ten Hag’s decision to start Mainoo ahead of more senior midfielders such as Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek against Arsenal and Real pointed to the manager’s faith in the youngster and interest in seeing how he coped with the challenge.

But any extended absence for Mainoo could have a knock-on effect on potential sales. West Ham are interested in McTominay but Ten Hag may be reluctant to lose the Scotland international even if a big bid comes in should Mainoo face a prolonged period on the sidelines.

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