Manchester United signing a ‘very good player’ in Rasmus Hojlund
Christian Eriksen has been impressed by compatriot Rasmus Hojlund’s development over the last year and believes Manchester United are signing a “very good player”.
After sealing deals for midfielder Mason Mount and adventurous goalkeeper Andre Onana, Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils increased their focus on signing a new striker.
United have been regularly linked to Tottenham sharpshooter Harry Kane but ended up moving for up-and-coming Atalanta frontman Hojlund.
The clubs have agreed a deal in principle worth £64 million plus a further £8 million in potential add-ons for the highly-rated 20-year-old striker, who has impressed Denmark team-mate Eriksen.
“What’s he like? He’s a strong number nine,” the United midfielder told the PA news agency.
“He’s developed a lot in the last year from when I first saw him with the national team (to) a year’s time, so, yeah, he’s a very good player.”
Put to Eriksen that Hojlund had gone under the radar for many until the recent transfer talk, he said: “I suppose we don’t get enough media attention in Denmark that’s why, so people outside Denmark don’t know enough.
“He’s a nice guy, he’s a good player. Like I said, he’s developed, turning into just a nine, which he’s played for the national team.
“I have to be honest I haven’t seen that many games for Atalanta, but I know how they play and he fitted in well there, so, yeah, he’s a good player.”
Hojlund played for FC Copenhagen and Austrian side Sturm Graz before joining Atalanta last summer, scoring nine goals in Serie A as well as six in as many appearances for Denmark.
Asked if the striker had engaged with him about what United was like, Eriksen said: “Not recently.
“I spoke to him when we were with the national team last time.
“But of course, I’ve said a lot of good stuff – and also said some bad stuff – but in the end it’s what’s going to happen.”
It is understood United will make a decision on another striker, their own player Mason Greenwood, before the start of the season.
Greenwood, 21, had been facing charges including attempted rape and assault but the Crown Prosecution Service said in February the case had been discontinued and all charges dropped as “the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”. United have been conducting their own investigation since.
Eriksen was speaking after United ended their US tour with a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in Las Vegas.
Donyell Malen hit a brace after Diogo Dalot’s early stunner, with Antony levelling after half-time before Youssoufa Moukoko’s winner.
It was a disappointing end to United’s short tour, which began with a win in New Jersey against Arsenal last Saturday before continuing onto San Diego for a training camp and the youngsters’ loss to Wrexham.
United’s first team then lost to Real Madrid in Houston, returned to San Diego for training, before heading to Nevada and back to Manchester straight from Sunday’s friendly.
“I think that’s a nice way of saying it, as a taxing tour,” Eriksen said. “We’ve done a lot of travelling obviously but in the end that’s what pre-season is turning into, I think, for a lot of clubs.
“United are the same as a brand so of course the focus is on football but there’s a lot of travelling.”
Ten Hag’s side had already played friendlies in Oslo and Edinburgh before jetting off to the US and will round off pre-season preparations with a doubleheader this weekend.
United host Lens at Old Trafford on Saturday before taking on Athletic Bilbao the following day in Dublin as United looked for a better start to the Premier League than last season when they lost their two opening games.
“That will be very, very delightful, yes,” Eriksen said, reflecting on the shock loss at home to Brighton and thrashing at former club Brentford. “That will be a lot better and I’m sure we will do what we can do to make that better. And I’m sure we do.”