Manchester United transfer target Rasmus Hojlund has picked out the hardest defender he has ever faced – as Chris Smalling.

Rasmus Hojlund is looking like Manchester United’s top transfer market focus in attack with The Telegraph reporting he is subject of £50 million interest from the Red Devils.

Fabrizio Romano reports personal terms are agreed too, with the Denmark international very keen on a move to Old Trafford.

Hojlund plays for Atalanta in Serie A where he has stood out as the best young player in the division.

READ: Confirmed Manchester United transfers in, out, loans, releases, youth for 2023/24

AS Roma v Atalanta BC - Serie A
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Rasmus Hojlund talks up Chris Smalling

In a new interview about his time in Italy so far, Rasmus Hojlund has picked out the toughest defender he has faced so far in his career.

He is quoted via Tuttosport: “Chris Smalling from Roma gave me the biggest problems.

“He’s an intelligent, agile, fast, physically strong defender.

I tried to win duels with him by using my physical strength, but it wasn’t the winning move. I still have to find the right key to overcome it.”

Manchester United sold Chris Smalling in 2020 to Roma after a season spent on loan at the club, for a fee totalling £18 million.

He is currently playing under former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho and recently signed a new contract running to 2025.

READ MORE: Manchester United transfer history 2013 to present day

Rasmus Hojlund comments highlight inexperience

Rasmus Hojlund’s comments do highlight his inexperience, with just one season spent in a top European league so far.

A switch to the Premier League will see Hojlund come up against tougher defenders than Smalling, and he clearly has plenty to learn.

This underlines that he’s very much a work in progress, with United looking to sign a striker to develop, unable to afford a proven top tier forward worth more than double the price.