Manchester United have had an initial offer of €8.5 million rejected by Bologna for striker Marko Arnautovic but are confident they can sign him with an improved bid.
It is understood that Arnautovic is extremely keen to make the switch to Old Trafford and is considering asking the Italian club to allow him to leave. With United lacking in central strikers manager Erik ten Hag believes Arnautovic can provide a cut-price solution in what has become an emergency situation. He can also play out wide.
When asked about United’s interest in the 33-year-old after the home defeat to Brighton, Ten Hag said: “I don’t go into names because I think in this pre-season maybe 250 players are linked to Manchester United. We have two strikers and maybe a third one with Rashford, as well. But he had a really good pre-season on the left-side. We didn’t have the typical nine available today.” However United sources confirmed a bid had been made.
Arnautovic worked with Ten Hag and his assistant Steve McClaren at Twente – when McClaren was coach – and has a good relationship with the pair. With Cristiano Ronaldo wishing to leave United and Mason Greenwood indefinitely suspended, Ten Hag currently only has Anthony Martial, who has been desperate to leave United in the past, as a central striker and he has not always convinced in that role and spent the second half of last season on loan at Sevilla.
Arnautovic scored 14 times in Serie A last season and has two years left of his contract at Bologna. The Austrian also, of course, previously played in the Premier League for Stoke City and for West Ham United before forcing a move away from the Hammers to play in the Chinese Super League.
Arnautovic is not the only forward option being looked at by United but may be the most easily attainable even if Bologna do not want to sell. They have been looking at the RB Salzburg striker Benjamin Sesko although there is understood to be a large difference in their valuation of the 19-year-old and the fee being demanded by the Austrian club. Given his age there is also a question mark as to whether Sesko would be ready to go straight into the first-team.