Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is interested in signing promising Atalanta striker Rasmus Hojlund but won’t break the bank to land the Denmark international

Atalanta are refusing to sell Rasmus Hojlund for less than £60.2million

Atalanta are refusing to sell Rasmus Hojlund for less than £60.2million

Erik ten Hag’s hunt for a new striker isn’t going to plan, with Atalanta slapping a €70million (£60.2m) price tag on Rasmus Hojlund.

Ten Hag has been after a new striker since Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United by mutual consent last November. Wout Weghorst was signed on loan from Burnley but failed to score in the Premier League before returning to his parent club.

Hojlund, 20, is believed to be Ten Hag’s first-choice target, but United are unwilling to pay such an amount for a relatively unproven striker. The Denmark international scored a modest nine Serie A goals during the 2022/23 campaign, his first at Atalanta.

With the likes of Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen also proving too expensive, it’s difficult to see how Ten Hag fixes United’s striker problem. Yet it’s not an impossible equation to solve. Here are five ways Ten Hag can respond to his latest striker setback.

Trust Martial

Believe it or not, it’s eight years since United agreed a £58million deal with Monaco to make Anthony Martial the most expensive teenager on the planet. He’s shown only glimpses of his potential since, but many believe he can still become a world-class player.

Ten Hag certainly believes in Martial. He was United’s first-choice striker during the Dutchman’s first year in charge, getting ahead of Ronaldo and then Weghorst in the pecking order. Yet injuries restricted the 27-year-old to just 29 appearances in all competitions.

Anthony Martial could play a bigger role at Old Trafford this coming season Anthony Martial could play a bigger role at Old Trafford this coming season (


Getty Images)

What do you think Erik ten Hag should do? Let us know in the comments below!

Martial is unreliable, yet he’s also a top centre-forward on his day. It would be a huge risk to go into the new campaign with only one recognised striker, but it’s perhaps one Ten Hag will be forced to take if United can’t make breakthrough in the transfer market.

Rashford at No.9

Marcus Rashford is arguably United’s best player and committed his future to the club by signing a new five-year deal on Monday. He scored 30 club goals in all competitions last season, but much of his success came from playing on the left flank.

Ten Hag could deploy Rashford, 25, in a central role, but that would be a risk after his form last season. The United boss does have plenty of wingers to pick from in Antony, Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri, Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Elanga and the returning Amad.

Playing Rashford, or one of United’s other wingers, down the middle during pre-season would be a wise experiment. It could be time for some trial and error, perhaps.

Marcus Rashford has signed a new contract with Manchester United Marcus Rashford has signed a new contract with Manchester United (


Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Keep on bidding

If Hojlund is the man Ten Hag wants, then why not just keep bidding for him? It’s believed United are willing to pay up to £50m for the emerging star, which isn’t too much lower than Atalanta’s asking price (relatively speaking).

There doesn’t appear to be another, more affordable, striker on Ten Hag’s shortlist. If that’s the case, United should just keep on testing Atalanta’s resolve. The Italians may want £60.2m for him now, but there’s still plenty of time for them to drop their price.

Wait for Kane

In my opinion, the ideal striker for United is Kane. The England skipper, who turns 30, this month, found the net 30 times in the Premier League goals last season. Injury permitting, he is a guaranteed source of goals and assists who shows no signs of slowing down.

Kane has just a year remaining on his contract with Tottenham and the only club interested in buying him this summer is Bayern Munich, who have already seen two bids rejected. It might be worth United waiting a year to see if Kane becomes available.

Recall Greenwood

Mason Greenwood hasn’t played for United since he was arrested in January 2022. In February this year, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped its case against the England international, 21, for attempted rape, assault and coercive control.

Although Greenwood is no longer facing criminal charges, he hasn’t returned to training and will not be involved in their pre-season tour of the United States. He still has two years remaining on his contract, with United conducting an internal investigation that is still ongoing.

United have a huge decision to make. If they release Greenwood, they will be saying goodbye to one of Europe’s most promising young forwards. If they keep him, they will face a backlash - and understandably so - due to the severity of the allegations made against him.

It’s a tough decision… and one that probably won’t be Ten Hag’s to make.