Rasmus Hojlund during the Euro 2024 qualifier between Denmark and Finland at Parken Stadion, Copenhagen, March 2023.

Rasmus Hojlund’s stunning hat-trick should leave Arsenal fans drooling

“I see parallels between myself and Erling Haaland,” said Rasmus Hojlund upon his arrival at Strum Graz at the start of 2022. This is clearly a man with the self-belief not normally seen outside LinkedIn.

“He is fast, left-footed, tall, has a good nose for goal and is a classy finisher,” he continued. “His mentality is also completely insane”

Whereas the vocal minority of LinkedIn users are self-serving egomaniacs you’d cross the street to avoid, Hojlund is able to back up his words with actions.

His form in Austria earnt him a move to Atalanta last summer, and the 20-year-old striker has scored eight goals in his first season in Serie A.

But it’s Hojlund’s style of play that makes the Haaland comparisons inevitable; the upright running style, the instinctive feel for the whereabouts of opposition defenders and finishing that suggests ice-cool Yazoo runs through his veins at the crucial moment.

All of these qualities were evident during his first international start for Denmark in their opening European Championship qualifier against Finland.

The Finns won in Copenhagen during Euro 2020, in a match marred by Christian Eriksen’s collapse, but their attempts at marshalling Hojlund on this chilly March night suggested they’d have been better off fielding 11 seals rather than footballers.

Hojlund’s first goal for his country was devastatingly simple; Alexander Bah raced into the chasm left by the pinnipeds in Finland shirt and whipped in a devastating cross into the penalty area.

Ghosting into the area like he’d borrowed Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, Hojlund was able to stretch out a telescopic limb and divert the ball into the net. Simple as.

His second was a textbook header, the kind coaches across the globe would’ve saved to their phones in order to directly inspire their young hopefuls on the training field, to edge Denmark ahead. They wouldn’t release their vice-like grip on victory for the remainder of the contest.

But there was still enough time for Hojlund to complete his hat trick and get journalists across Europe twitching to attack their keyboards in praise of his feat.

Good work from Mohamed Daramy, who danced through a succession of Finland defenders, allowed Hojlund to control his team-mates cross, adjust his feet and rifle home his shot in a manner that suggested a past life as a First World War sniper.


“The characteristics are very similar [between Hojlund and Haaland], especially in accelerations,” claimed Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini.

“He is a very fast player, he does the 100 meters in less than 11 seconds. For his height, he has a low centre of gravity and an incredible stride frequency.

“I’m convinced he will have a great career. Technically, he always shows different and better things.”

Real Madrid are believed to be favourites for Hojlund’s signature, but a potential move to Arsenal sounds infinitely more romantic. With his eye for goal and remorsless nature, Mikel Arteta would be able to field his very own Haaland.

That sound you can hear is Arsenal fans drooling over that very prospect.

By Michael Lee

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