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Why Manchester United star rejected £1.7m move just two years ago

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The presence of a player linked with Manchester United served to block one potential route for Rasmus Hojlund early in his career, with a switch to Anderlecht lined up at the time.

And it didn’t take long for Old Trafford favourite Rasmus Hojlund to show the club who wanted to sign him back in January 2022 exactly what they were missing out on.

“In one of his first interviews here, he said his playing style has some similarities to Erling Haaland,” Christian Ilzer, Hojlund‘s former coach at Sturm Graz, told the Daily Mail.

“Both in our club and in the media, people laughed or didn’t take it seriously, because he was only 18 and hadn’t really shown anything. But, for me, it showed how confident he was.”

It quickly became apparent that brazen, breezy self-confidence certainly wasn’t misplaced. Hojlund, moving to Austria from Copenhagen two-and-a-half years ago, scored twice on his debut and four in his first three games.

Talk about exploding out of the blocks. Talk about silencing the doubters.

Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffie...

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Rasmus Hojlund turned down Anderlecht move in 2022

“After his first game, where he scored twice, all the journalists knew what he was talking about and saw that there are similarities (with Haaland),” Ilzer added. “With their size, power and finishing ability.

The pitch is a concert stage and he is a rock star that excites the crowd. He is naturally comfortable in the spotlight. That’s why he is made for the biggest stages.”

Even his old Sturm Graz colleagues have been left surprised, however, by the rapid rise of Rocking Rasmus.

With his emphatic finishing and air guitar celebrations, the Dane has gone from relative obscurity to Manchester United‘s first-choice number nine in the blink of an eye, a promising spell in Italy with Atalanta sandwiched in between.

One wonders how Hojlund’s career path would have looked had Anderlecht managed to get a deal over the line instead.

According to La Derniere Heure, the Belgian giants agreed a fee worth just £1.7 million with Copenhagen.

Personal terms proved a lot trickier, however. Anderlecht had Joshua Zirkzee leading their line at the time.

And Hojlund reportedly felt that first-team opportunities would not be quite so attainable with a man who could yet join him at Old Trafford plying his trade in purple.

  • READ MORE: Who is Rasmus Hojlund? Inside the life of Manchester United’s dynamic Danish forward

Anderlecht could have had £64m Old Trafford favourite

Zirkzee, according to reports, is currently a £34 million Man United target as the Red Devils look to ease the burden on their 16-goal top scorer.

“RSCA (Anderlecht) were close to signing Rasmus Hojlund two years ago,” DH Net write. “In six months, his value increased tenfold.

“Anderlecht has sometimes recruited well. And, sometimes, they messed up. History does not say whether the Dane would have had the same career (had he moved to Belgium), but his talent now seems indisputable.”

  • READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano names the four positions he’s convinced Man Utd will sign players this summer

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