Man Utd's 2022/23 Premier League Fixtures
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Manchester United are reportedly keen on signing Marko Arnautovic from Bologna. If that sentence was written a few years ago, then many would likely have been open to the prospect of landing the Austria international. But with the striker on the wane, 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 Italian newspaper Gazzetta, United are pondering 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 land a new marksman to help ease the burden on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga.
With Ronaldo’s future up in the air, it’s even possible United will need to replace the 37-year-old. The veteran wants to play in the Champions League this season, something the Red Devils can’t offer him following their failure to qualify for the competition last term.
Antony has been one player strongly linked, though Ajax are adamant the Brazil international won’t be allowed to leave for anything less than £80million.
United aren’t willing to go that high, especially given how the bulk of their transfer budget is being saved for Frenkie de Jong.
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Benjamin Sesko is another player on their radar.
But the latest murmurings suggest the 19-year-old is prepared to stay at Red Bull Salzburg for another year to enhance his development.
United were never going to genuinely challenge Manchester City for Erling Haaland, who has decided to leave Borussia Dortmund to follow in the footsteps of his father at the Etihad Stadium.
And the minute Liverpool registered an interest in Darwin Nunez, the Red Devils stood no chance – though they insist their rivals have overpaid for the Uruguay international.
Now, Arnautovic’s name is doing the rounds.
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And if United do end up recruiting the Austria international, it will have echoes of the deal they struck for Ighalo in January 2020.
With days of that transfer window to go, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt he needed a new forward to provide competition for Martial and Rashford.
The Norwegian went public with his desire to land a new marksman, saying with just days to go: “We need more goalscorers, more goals, someone who wants to break their nose or toe to score.
“It doesn’t always have to be nice goals. I need to challenge them more.”
United then pondered their options.
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Josh King was one, though Bournemouth made it abundantly clear they didn’t want to let the Norway international go so late in the transfer window.
Teemu Pukki and Dries Mertens, of Norwich City and Napoli respectively, were also players the Red Devils considered.
However, in the end, United signed Ighalo.
Though the 33-year-old had previously impressed for Watford in the Premier League, many weren’t happy a deal given he’d spent the last few years playing in China.
With all due respect, their top flight pales in comparison to the glitz and glamour of English football’s biggest league.
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And though Ighalo did well enough, scoring six goals, it was always evident 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 didn’t disappoint for the Italian side, scoring 15 goals from 34 appearances in the league.
But this is United.
And, by going for yet another player like Ighalo, it proves they still have plenty of work to do behind the scenes before they get back to the dizzying heights they used to occupy.
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