Chris Sutton says he thought rumours that Man Utd want to buy Marko Arnautovic were a “spoof” and he thinks signing the Bologna striker would be a “absolute PR disaster”.
Sutton’s reaction probably mirrored that of many United fans on Sunday when they heard the news around the same time as Brighton beat them 2-1 in their first game of the season.
Man Utd picked up where they left off last campaign as they produced a disappointing performance against the Seagulls, leaving Erik ten Hag with a lot of work to do.
To add insult to injury, Man Utd seem to now lack a coherent transfer plan this summer despite bringing in Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
The club have entered the Dutch market for new signings with Ten Hag knowing the players well from his time in the Eredivisie, while they are pinning many of their hopes this summer on landing Netherlands international Frenkie de Jong.
It seems less likely by the day that De Jong will land at Man Utd and now links to a 33-year-old Arnautovic have truly exposed United’s transfer plans, or lack of, this summer.
And former Premier League striker Sutton thinks the signing of the former Stoke City and West Ham striker would be a “PR disaster” for Man Utd.
Speaking to the BBC, Sutton said: “That’s madness, thinking about signing [Arnautovic]. I thought it was a spoof, it’s ridiculous.
“It’s a real wrong move in terms of the eyes of the supporters. There’s a million other players out there United should have been linked with. I do no get that.
“It’s an absolute PR disaster. If Arnautovic comes in, that’s going to put Ten Hag under so much pressure.
“If Ten Hag said, ‘I need patience, we’re going to bring young players in, we’re going to develop them, you’re going to have to bear with me for two seasons’, I think the fans would buy that rather than what we’ve seen in the last 24 hours.
“The last 24 hours have been really damaging for Manchester United. That’s when it looks like they’re making it up as they go along.”
And fellow pundit Micah Richards thinks it’s clear “desperation” from Man Utd, he added: “He is a good player, it just shouldn’t be announced now. He should be sliding in through the back door and you think, ‘oh, he adds strength in depth’.
“It’s just desperation, there doesn’t seem to be a plan. But players don’t want to go to Manchester United now.
“Say they tried to get [Moises] Caicedo, or another young player, because of the size of the club, fans would say, ‘who’s this? why are we not going for the top players?'”
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