Manchester United chiefs dipped their hands deep into their pockets to sign a new number nine for Erik ten Hag, committing to spend as much as £72m, including add-ons, on Atalanta’s Ramus Hojlund.
Considering the figure, it’d be very easy for the club’s hierarchy (and fans and media alike) to go ahead of themselves and expect him to hit the ground running. Hell, the 20-year-old hasn’t even been unveiled as a United player yet and his stats are already being compared to Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland’s alien numbers.
It’s important to understand that Ten Hag didn’t push for Hojlund’s signing based on the number of goals he scored for Atalanta (nine league goals) or his experience at the senior level (less than 90). Instead, the Dutch coach is betting big on his potential.
The Dane is still a raw talent, but has frequently bamboozled backlines with his elite movement, outmuscled defenders with his massive 6’3″ stature, and has left players chasing shadows during transition with his electric pace. All Hojlund needs in Manchester is time and patience to refine his traits and add composure and variety in his finishing.
However, the issue is the lack of striker depth at United, which is likely to ensure Hojlund will be thrown into the mix from the get-go, and eventually attract unwarranted criticisms should he fails to mimic Haaland’s impact.
The good thing is that the United board has plenty of time – albeit can’t say the same thing about their budget – in the transfer market to avoid such a situation.
Heading into the summer, Ten Hag wanted to sign two strikers – an experienced talisman in Harry Kane as well as Hojlund to provide cover to the 30-year-old before eventually being handed the starting spot.
Tottenham Hotspur’s reluctance to negotiate with any English rival for their superstar forced United’s hands into going all out for Hojlund.
Still, there’s another striker available in the transfer market that may not just help Hojlund ease into English football but also add both Kane’s scoring and creating abilities to the side’s frontline to a reasonable effect
Randal Kolo Muani, who’s valued at £86m, could prove to be an excellent Kane alternative for the Red Devils.
First and foremost, the 24-year-old, who was one of France’s most impressive attackers during the 2022 World Cup, possesses much-needed experience.
He has amassed close to 150 appearances for FC Nantes and Eintracht Frankfurt, showing little signs of struggle in adjusting to the different challenges of Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.
The versatile star is also capable of playing out wide, and impressively swapped positions with Kylian Mbappe in Qatar to disrupt Argentina’s backline.
Further, the Frenchman, like Kane, has the penchant to not just score regularly but also create for his teammates – a trait that would be highly appreciated by someone like Marcus Rashford.
Kolo Muani ended the 2022/23 league campaign with 15 goals and 14 assists in 32 appearances. In all competitions, he directly contributed in 40 goals for the German club.
The Les Bleus star would largely strengthen the quality and depth of the offense at Old Trafford. In your view, should Man Utd bid £86m to secure his signing?