Livescore Thursday, April 25

Manchester United have held detailed talks over potential deals for Atalanta striker Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt forward Randal Kolo Muani.

Out of the two, Hojlund is seen as the likelier player to join United at this stage.

Erik ten Hag has made a centre-forward a priority signing this summer and views Harry Kane, who scored 30 Premier League goals this season, as the ideal candidate.

But it remains to be seen whether Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy would sanction a sale to a Premier League rival and so United are also exploring alternatives.

Football director John Murtough has stepped up dialogue around transfer targets since United secured Champions League football, with the aim of knowing the numbers involved on fees and wages ahead of the market opening. United were slow to make signings last summer, with Tyrell Malacia the first through the door on July 5 and Antony joining as late as September 1.

United’s ownership flux is adding some uncertainty to budgets but Ten Hag and the club’s recruitment staff are progressing on a basis of business as usual.

Murtough has spoken to Atalanta and Eintracht several times over Hojlund and Kolo Muani, respectively, with both clubs open to selling their players for the right price.

Hojlund has signed up with the SEG agency in expectation of a move at some stage in his short- to medium-term future. Ten Hag is also represented by SEG, whose co-founder Kees Vos is a regular at Old Trafford. Vos watched United’s win over Fulham on Sunday from the directors’ box.

Hojlund has scored eight goals and recorded two assists in 31 Serie A games in 2022-23 since arriving from Sturm Graz last summer. The 20-year-old Denmark international netted five goals in two international games during Euro 2024 qualifying in March, including a hat-trick in a 3-1 win against Finland.

Kolo Muani, 24, signed a five-year deal with Frankfurt in 2022 after spells in France with Nantes and Boulogne. He has been capped seven times by France and scored the third-fastest goal by a substitute in World Cup history when he struck against Morocco in the semi-finals.

It is anticipated Frankfurt could demand as much as €80million (£68.7m) for Kolo Muani, however, which would stretch United’s finances. Hojlund would be less expensive. United have also scouted Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, but president Aurelio De Laurentiis has said he will “no way” sell the 24-year-old this summer.

Ten Hag would ideally like to bring in an experienced striker plus a younger one who can develop at United, given his team relied largely on Marcus Rashford for goals, but such an outlay would depend on player sales.

Ten Hag also wants a mobile No 8, and talks continue over Mason Mount, who is leaning towards a move to Old Trafford amid interest from other clubs.

United are seeking to bolster a squad that secured a return to Champions League football after a third-place finish in the Premier League. In all competitions, Anthony Martial scored only nine goals in an injury-disrupted season and on-loan Wout Weghorst managed just two.

Ten Hag’s side face Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday, looking to add to their Carabao Cup trophy and scupper their rivals’ treble bid.

Hojlund is a throwback, hurried and tenacious’

Mark Carey has looked at Rasmus Hojlund and why the young striker has been in demand. Comparisons to Dusan Vlahovic and Erling Haaland are touched upon, though the striker is keen to play them down. There is also a closer look at his shot quality and how he compares to other young players across Europe…

While the typical modern-day forward has experienced a bit of a makeover in recent years towards a more cunning, fluid false-nine profile, Hojlund is more of a throwback — with his hurried, tenacious, style of play often looking like he’s playing on fast-forward.

The blistering speed he possesses is a huge advantage when playing in a counter-attacking side. With many elite clubs looking for a long-term fix to their attacking line, his rise to prominence could hardly come at a better time.

Kolo-Muani: ‘A very modern centre-forward’

Analysis by Raphael Honigstein

Tall, fast and elegant, Kolo Muani has often been compared to Thierry Henry but he has mostly played through the middle for Eintracht.

He is a very modern centre-forward, equally happy to hold up the ball or run into channels. His coach in Frankfurt, Oliver Glasner, has wanted him to be a bit more selfish in front of goal but as a relatively late bloomer, he will surely keep progressing and learning.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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