It is an open secret that Manchester United are targeting Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund to fill their glaring No 9 hole in the squad.
The player wants the move too, with United his “dream club”. However, one concerning stat has scouts doubting his suitability for a club the size of Man United.
The Mirror reports that Hojlund missed 11 clear-cut chances in Serie A last season, the eighth-highest in the league.
He had a conversion rate of just 16.7%. For context, Victor Osimhen, the Capocannoniere winner had a conversion rate of 19.3%.
The Mirror quoted a scout who said “his finishing can be erratic” and another who marked this potential transfer as “a danger, a gamble”.
While Hojlund is a raw prospect currently, and his signing as a first-choice forward is definitely a gamble, the stats need some added context.
Missing 11 clear-cut chances is not ideal, but the mark of an elite striker is to first get to the end of such chances.
Victor Osimhen missed 24 in Serie A. Therefore, the 11 clear-cut chances missed can also be looked at as a sign of Hojlund’s elite anticipation and understanding of spaces on the pitch.
At United, Marcus Rashford missed 22 big chances in the Premier League last season. To provide added context, here’s some basic maths.
Rashford played 2,907 minutes in the Premier League last season. That equates to a big chance missed every 132 minutes. It is lesser still for Haaland, the most clinical striker in world football currently.
In 2,803 Premier League minutes, his 28 big chances missed come out to one every 100 minutes.
Hojlund played 1,836 minutes in Serie A, which equates to a clear-cut chance missed every 166 minutes.
Therefore, for any elite striker, looking solely at “big chances missed” cannot give an accurate mark of his abilities. In fact, the most prolific strikers are also generally the ones who miss the most chances.
That just means they create high-scoring opportunities for themselves with intelligent movement and anticipation.
A more concerning statistic for a striker if they weren’t getting any big chances at all, hinting at lesser involvement in their team’s game.
Movement in the box and striker’s instinct is the hardest skill to teach and often comes naturally to a great extent. Statistics point to Hojlund already being blessed with that which means his ceiling is even higher than first envisioned.