Isak Hansen-Aarøen training
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Isak Hansen-Aarøen: Norway’s Next Superstar

Isak Hansen-Aarøen’s career hangs in the balance. The Norwegian’s contract expires at the end of the 23/24 season, and he has attracted interest from Ajax and teams in Italy, and with good reason too. Manchester United has always prided itself on being a club that creates legends, and Isak Hansen-Aarøen might just be the next superstar if he is given an opportunity.

If developed correctly, Hansen-Aarøen could become one of the most creative players in the Premier League and a mainstay in the Manchester United team. His close control and general playstyle have led to comparisons with Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong, a player the Ten Hag sacrificed almost an entire transfer window trying to sign. Hansen-Aarøen is a generational talent.

Hansen-Aarøen: Player Profile

For an undisclosed fee, Manchester United acquired Hansen-Aarøen from the Norwegian club Tromsø in 2020. The versatile midfielder appeared seven times for Tromsø and registered one assist at just 15 before departing for Carrington. Since then, he has played in 83 games for Manchester United’s youth teams and has impressed on nearly every occasion.

Hansen Aaroen training

Last season, Hansen-Aarøen was included in the first-team training camp for the FA Cup Final and has been involved many times since. If he doesn’t sign a new contract with Manchester United due to a lack of first-team opportunities, there is no doubt that the Red Devils could regret it in the future.

Tactical Analysis

Isak Hansen-Aarøen is a magnificent young footballer; he can receive on the half-turn, dictate play from deep, beat a man for pace, dribble in between three men, play a pass in between two lines of play, and finish with composure and great technique. The Norwegian has shown all of these skills for Manchester United in pre-season, consistently for the youth sides, and while on international duty with the Norway under-21s and under-19s. This is a player that I am very excited about.

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Isak Hansen-Aarøen playing a pass to Marc Jurado vs Wrexham

This above example is taken from Manchester United’s pre-season friendly against Wrexham, and it showcases one of Isak’s many qualities. Without many other options, Hansen-Aarøen plays a lobbed pass to Marc Jurado over the midfield and defensive line. If Jurado had been able to control the pass, Manchester United would have had a great opportunity to score if the cross was good enough.

Hansen-Aarøen could be a perfect fit for Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United team because, in his system, his wingers stay wide and hold positional width, allowing space to be found on the inside. That means that this kind of pass is regularly on, but currently, first-team players don’t play it nearly enough.

Hansen-Aarøen assisting Noam Emeran against Leeds United

Hansen-Aarøen plays his best football in advanced areas, operating behind the striker or in either half-space. As seen below, Isak intercepts a pass and takes two touches to get past three Leeds United players; this gives him the space to play a pass in between the Leeds players for Noam Emeran to run onto. Emeran was able to finish first time on his stronger foot because of the accuracy and weight of the pass from Hansen-Aarøen. The Norwegian single-handedly took five players out of the game and created a one-on-one chance. This is a quality that Erik Ten Hag would love, making it even more surprising that he hasn’t been given more opportunities.

Hansen-Aarøen dribbling past two players and playing a pass to Omari Forson

This can only be described as individual brilliance. Hansen-Aarøen picks up the ball with no other option but to dribble through two players, and he does so successfully. The playmaker then takes one look up and sees Omari Forson dropping off from the full-back, marking him. Isak plays the pass into his feet, and Forson flicks a pass into Hugill. Another example of Isak Hansen-Aarøen creating a good chance on his own; his dribbling and playmaking ability are simply too good for youth team football, and he needs to be loaned out if he isn’t going to play for the first team.

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Why isn’t Hansen-Aarøen a first-team player?

There is no question about Isak Hansen-Aarøen’s ability or his potential, so why isn’t he playing? Hansen-Aarøen will not be given an opportunity in the first team until he has signed a new contract or has agreed to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring in the summer. His main position is as an attacking midfielder, too. He is in direct competition with Bruno Fernandes for minutes, but he has also played out wide for the reserve team.

“If you work very hard every day, and also, away from football, that your life is in the right direction, it goes in the right approach.”

“When you do that, then you can deserve here opportunities to flow into the first team.”

Erik Ten Hag told MUTV

If Ten Hag believes his attitude is worthy of a new contract, then he will be given opportunities once his future is clear. Hansen-Aarøen has the potential to revolutionise Manchester United’s midfield, but will he be given a chance? Time will tell.

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