Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Marko Arnautovic from Bologna. If this sentence had been written a few years ago, then many would probably have been open to the prospect of landing the Austria international. But with the striker on the decline and entering the twilight years of his career after a few years in China, he could end up being another Odion Ighalo if he moves to Old Trafford.
According to the Italian newspaper gazzettaUnited are considering a shock move for Arnautovic as they look to add to their attacking options.
With Edinson Cavani no longer at the club and Mason Greenwood still suspended, the Red Devils are hoping to sign a new marksman to help ease the burden on Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga.
With Ronaldo’s future up in the air, it’s even possible United may have to replace the 37-year-old. The veteran wants to play in the Champions League this season, which the Red Devils cannot offer him after their failure to qualify for the competition last term.
Antony has been a heavily linked player, although Ajax are adamant the Brazil international will not be allowed to leave for less than £80million.
United aren’t willing to go that high, especially considering most of their transfer budget is being saved for Frenkie de Jong.
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And if United do end up signing the Austria international, it will echo the deal they agreed for Ighalo in January 2020.
With this transfer window just days away, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt he needed a new striker to compete with Martial and Rashford.
The Norwegian went public with his desire to land a new sniper, saying with days to go: “We need more scorers, more goals, someone who wants to break their nose or toe to mark.
“It doesn’t always have to be nice goals. I have to challenge them more.”
United then considered their options.
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Josh King was one, although Bournemouth have made it clear they don’t want to let the Norway international leave so late in the transfer window.
Teemu Pukki and Dries Mertens, of Norwich City and Napoli respectively, were also players considered by the Red Devils.
However, in the end, United signed Ighalo.
Although the 33-year-old had already impressed Watford in the Premier League, many were unhappy with a deal given he had spent the last few years playing in China.
With all due respect, their top flight pales in comparison to the glitz and glamor of English football’s top league.
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And although Ighalo did well enough, scoring six goals, it was still clear he wasn’t going to be a long-term option at United.
He had spent four years in the Far East and Arnautovic, by comparison, had spent three before returning to Europe with Bologna last summer.
The 33-year-old hasn’t disappointed the Italian side, scoring 15 goals in 34 league appearances.
But it’s United.
And, by opting for another player like Ighalo, it proves that they still have a lot of work to do behind the scenes before they return to the dizzying heights they once held.
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