Scandinavian strikers are all the rage these days, and the next superstar-in-the-making looks to be Denmark’s Rasmus Hojlund.
Only 20 years old and already with his third senior club, Hojlund is making waves in Serie A with Atalanta and has attracted the attention of a number of the game’s biggest sides, many of whom have been tipped to throw significant bids his way in the coming months. Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus and Napoli are just four of many who have been linked with the Dane.
Ahead of his seemingly inevitable rise to a household name, here’s a run-down of Hojlund.
Hojlund began his career with Danish club Copenhagen, his hometown team, for whom he made his debut in October 2020. He’d go on to make 32 appearances for the senior side but just five of those came as a starter and Hojlund has spoken openly about not feeling backed by those in charge at Copenhagen.
A move to Austrian side Sturm Graz followed in January 2022, and it was there that Hojlund’s career took off. His six-month stay yielded 12 goals and four assists in 21 games, before Atalanta came calling with a reported €17m bid to take him to Italy.
Hojlund scored on his second appearance for the team and soon became a regular starter for Atalanta, while he started his first game for the senior Denmark side in March 2023 and responded with five goals in just two games against Finland and Kazakhstan.
While Hojlund is prepared to use his towering frame – reports list his height at either 6’3 or 6’4 – the Dane prefers to drop deeper into midfield to try and link up with the wingers either side of him.
A common move from Hojlund is to hold the ball up and allow those around him to get forward, dragging defenders out of position and attempting to cause chaos in the final third.
When operating further forward, Hojlund will search for space relentlessly, using his intelligence to pick out the right spots to get his shot away.
As a tall, young, Scandinavian striker, comparisons to Erling Haaland have been common over the past few years, and while Hojlund tries to avoid such discussions, he can at least understand where they are coming from.
“As I’ve said many times before, I would not like to compare myself to him because he’s a monster, he’s crazy!”, he told the Austrian Bundesliga site.
“I can see the similarities: he’s fast, I’m also fast; he’s left-footed, I’m also left-footed; he’s strong and I’m strong too. I hope that I can reach his level, but I’ll need to train very hard and be even more focused on the pitch.”
As should come as no surprise when Haaland’s name is mentioned, Hojlund is a tall, lanky forward with impressive, powerful acceleration, while he has also proven to be an excellent poacher in the penalty area.
A common criticism of Hojlund, and one which has followed him throughout his young career, is his struggles when it comes to aerial battles.
While Hojlund is always happy to challenge for a header, he is not known for his devastating ability off the ground. Indeed, duel success rates of between 35% and 40% are common for Hojlund, despite his naturally imposing frame.
Hojlund has spoken openly of his passion for Manchester United, previously naming Cristiano Ronaldo as his idol.
“I always watched Manchester United, I’m a Manchester United fan,” he said. “I also supported Real Madrid when he was there. So, Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the one. I like his mentality, I like how ambitious and passionate he is. I also like the fact that he’s very competitive.”