Rasmus Hojlund has been left out of the Atalanta side to take on Bournemouth in a pre-season friendly with his proposed move to Manchester United ‘advancing’.
The Serie A side face Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Atalanta ramp up their preparations for the new campaign. However, Hojlund has not been included in the team to take on the Cherries as he closes on in on a big-money move to Old Trafford.
Gian Piero Gasperini named ex-Leicester star Ademola Lookman up front in Hojlund’s absence, with Martin de Roon and Davide Zappacosta among the other former Premier League players included in the XI. Hojlund travelled with the rest of the squad but will not play as United and Atalanta agreed to avoid any risk of injury.
It comes as Fabrizio Romano revealed the two clubs are ‘closer’ to reaching an agreement over a move for Hojlund this summer. The Red Devils are confident they can get a deal done in time for their opening Premier League game against Wolves on August 14.
Atalanta value Hojlund at £80million, and although United are not willing to spend that much, there is an expectation that a compromise can be made. United do not feel Hojlund, who scored 10 times in 34 appearances last season, is worth more than between £50m and £60m.
The Italian outfit are already preparing to lose Hojlund as they completed the signing of El Bilal Toure from Almeria on a permanent basis on Saturday. The 21-year-old, who was also linked with £25m move to Everton, scored seven times in 20 matches for the La Liga side last term.
United have a good working relationship with Atalanta, after signing winger Amad Diallo from them in 2021, and believe they can land Hojlund to boost Erik ten Hag’s attack. There is an acceptance that it may take Hojlund time to adapt to the English game, with Ten Hag also prepared to start the season with Marcus Rashford up front.