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Rasmus Hojlund names former Man Utd star Chris Smalling as toughest opponent

Rasmus Hojlund names former Man Utd star Chris Smalling as toughest opponent

Hojlund has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Manchester United transfer target Rasmus Hojlund has named former Red Devils centre-back Chris Smalling as the toughest defender he has ever encountered.

Erik ten Hag is keen to build on the success of last season by adding an elite No. 9 to his ranks this summer, as the club prepare for their return to the Champions League.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Napoli's Victor Osimhen had been earmarked as potential options earlier this summer.

However, concerns around Financial Fair Play regulations limiting United's transfer budget has forced them to consider cheaper alternatives, with Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani and Atalanta's Hojlund now on the list.

It is reported that the Old Trafford outfit are weighing up a £50 million bid for Hojlund after Ten Hag held private video calls with the striker over a potential move.

The 20-year-old made a decent impression in his first season in Italy, scoring ten goals and grabbing four assists in 34 appearances, helping Atalanta finish fifth in the Serie A table, one point ahead of sixth-placed Roma.

Atalanta did the double over Jose Mourinho's side last term, winning 1-0 away from home and 3-1 on their own turf.

But despite getting the better of the Italian giants, Hojlund had his personal struggles against Smalling, who moved to the Stadio Olimpico in 2019, initially on loan, before making the permanent switch the following year.

Hojlund names Smalling as toughest opponent

Speaking about the toughest opponent he has faced, Hojlund revealed that Smalling had given him the "biggest problems" he had faced in his career so far.

"Chris Smalling from Roma gave me the biggest problems," said Hojlund, as quoted by Tuttosport. "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."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Manchester United, Chris Smalling, AS Roma, Football