Ten Hag could sign Hojlund 2.0 with £30m Man Utd swoop

    Manchester United return to domestic action this week as they face Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League.

    With seven league wins from 12 matches, it’s evident that Erik ten Hag’s men haven’t endured the best of starts to the season, yet with a win over the Toffees, it could perhaps be the catalyst which gives their campaign a boost.

    The Merseyside club were recently docked ten points – the biggest punishment ever for a Premier League side – due to breaching financial rules and it sends the club to second bottom in the table, two points from safety.

    This could allow Ten Hag’s side to pile further misery on Everton and claim a crucial three points. With ties against Newcastle United, Liverpool and Chelsea all coming up before Christmas, the Dutchman is going to need all the points he can get.

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    If United can get through this tough patch unscathed, then the former Ajax boss could turn to the January transfer window in order to strengthen his side for the second half of the campaign.

    Man United transfer latest

    The 53-year-old may be looking to move a couple of players on during January to free up some funds for incoming arrivals.

    Casemiro has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia in the last couple of weeks, and he could bring United a decent fee, especially as he has two and a half years left on his current contract.

    Raphael Varane is another name linked with a potential exit, as the central defender is also attracting interest from the Middle East and the fees that these clubs are paying may tempt Ten Hag to cash in on them, especially as they aren’t going to get any better.

    Being able to move these players on could recoup some funds for January signings and, according to reports in Spain, United are looking to make a bid for AC Milan midfielder Charles De Ketelaere, who is currently on loan at Atalanta.

    AC Milan's Charles De Ketelaere

    Arsenal are also keeping tabs on the Belgian ahead of a potential move in the coming months, and it means Ten Hag faces some competition for his signature.

    While a transfer fee hasn’t been mentioned despite their interest, the 22-year-old is currently valued at around €29.5m (£26m) according to Football Transfers.

    Given that he has impressed so far in Serie A this term, AC Milan could demand a fee north of this valuation, but it could be a wise investment by the club.

    They signed Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta in the summer and while he hasn’t quite hit the ground running as many expected, there is no doubting his limitless potential.

    De Ketelaere could become Hojlund 2.0 for Man United if he made the move to the Premier League and forged himself as one of the finest midfielders in the country after a few years.

    Rasmus Hojlund’s statistics this term

    Since joining from Serie A in the summer, the Dane has yet to score a Premier League goal, yet there is no doubting his persistence.

    Indeed, he has missed eight big chances so far in the league and with a little bit more luck, he would have scored a couple by now.

    His performances in the Champions League, however, have been wonderful, and he has taken to the competition rather well.

    Across just four matches for the Old Trafford side, Hojlund has scored five goals while he ranks first in the squad for shots on target per game (1.5) along with ranking fifth for key passes made, and it’s clear that once he gets his first league goal, a barrel load will follow.

    The youngster was among one of the highly-rated strikers in European football prior to his move to Manchester and, despite some early woes, the more he plays and develops, the better he is going to turn out.

    De Ketelaere can follow in his footsteps from Italy, particularly after returning to prominence for Atalanta this term.

    Charles De Ketelaere’s career statistics

    The Belgian made his breakthrough with Club Brugge, making his debut with the club during the 2019/20 season.

    Following a stunning campaign just two years later where he scored 14 goals and grabbed seven assists in just 33 league matches, Serie A giants AC Milan secured his signature for £30m, and on the surface, it looked as though they had signed one of the next big midfielders to emerge in the continental game.

    Charles De Ketelaere’s stats in Serie A









    Accurate passes per game



    Key passes per game



    Big chances created



    Stats via Sofascore

    It proved to be a tough debut season in Italy for the youngster, as he registered just one assist across 40 matches, and he played for a total of just 1500 minutes throughout his maiden campaign.

    Previously hailed as “prolific” and “creative” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, De Ketelaere struggled to demonstrate either quality at Milan, and he was loaned to Atalanta – coincidentally Hojlund’s former employers – for the duration of the 2023/24 season.

    It has since turned out to be the best move for his development, as the midfielder has returned to the type of form which saw him secure a move to Italy in the first place.

    Across the squad in the league this term, the Belgian currently ranks fifth for big chances created (two), along with ranking fourth for key passes per game (1.1) and first for successful dribbles per game (1.5), certainly suggesting that his creative ability has been on show.

    [FBCharts] Charles De Ketelaere

    Not only is he running the show from the midfield area, but the 22-year-old is also returning to his attacking best, chipping in with two goals and two assists across 14 matches this season.

    Ten Hag could use a talent like him in the United midfield, as they have struggled to control matches this season, while only three midfielders have scored over three goals this season so far, and adding in a player like De Ketelaere could bolster this statistic.

    Potentially signing a player with success at Atalanta again could well be a repeat of the successful Hojlund deal, with the midfielder looking to be a shrewd piece of business indeed.

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