Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand would not be surprised if Rasmus Hojlund’s debut season in the Premier League is reminiscent of Darwin Nunez’s down the road at Liverpool.
While Liverpool’s new number nine became something of a figure of fun amongst the trolls of social media, does anyone honestly think he will not come good eventually?
A centre-forward with Nunez’s athleticism, enthusiasm and remarkable movement feels almost certain to thrive at some point, and Manchester United will be hoping that the creativity of Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, Jadon Sancho and co can make the most of Rasmus Hojlund’s own predatory instincts.
Hojlund, like Nunez, arrives in England for a colossal fee and amid lofty expectations despite having just one season of first-team football in a major European league under his belt.
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“The first thing you’ve got to look at is there’s huge potential,” Ferdinand says, as reported by the Manchester Evening News. “Anyone who has seen him play will see there are attributes there that you would like.
“He’s suited to the Premier League. I think the price tag is out of his hands.
“I look at it like Darwin Nunez from Liverpool. Last season was his adjusting season. He’s a young striker coming to the league, everything about him fits the Premier League perfectly, but it didn’t go as well as he would have liked.
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“But I think this season, we’ll see a different player for Liverpool. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens with Hojlund, although I’d like him to have a better season than Nunez obviously. He may well do but it will take time to adjust.”
Depending on which way you look at it, either Manchester United are paying an initial £64 million for a striker who failed to reach double figures in Serie A last season, or Erik ten Hag is about to get hits mitts on a man who – in all competitions, and for club and country – scored 22 goals in just 31 starts.
Hojlund touched down in Manchester for his medical earlier this week. An official unveiling could happen this weekend, with the Denmark international in line to make his Premier League debut on the opening day of the season against Wolves.