The year is 2022 and Manchester United are interested in signing Marko Arnautovic.
Gazetta dello Sport (via eurosport) reports that the Bologna star has emerged as a shock option for the club after they have found themselves short on firepower.
Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to leave the club in pursuit of Champions League football, which would leave Anthony Martial as the only centre forward at the club.
To make matters worse, the Frenchman is currently out with a hamstring injury.
Arnautovic achieved relative success in England with Stoke City and West Ham United during a six-year Premier League stint.
He scored 39 goals in 154 appearances, contributing 27 assists in England’s top flight.
Arnautovic then moved to Shanghai Port (in acrimonious circumstances) for £23m at 30 years of age, with many seeing that as the end of his top-level European career.
However, he returned to Bologna last season and became a key player, scoring 14 league goals.
In 2018 under Jose Mourinho, United considered a move for Arnautovic, although the Portuguese manager’s sacking before the January window scuppered any hope of a deal.
This would not be the first time the Red Devils have resorted to dusting off old scout reports over a crisis up front.
In the January 2020 window, Odion Ighalo was brought in from Shanghai to account for a lack of depth in attack, with analysis from the Louis van Gaal administration allegedly used to assess his suitability under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Arnautovic has at least shown himself to still be a viable Serie A striker, although United’s interest will still come as a surprise to many, given his age, attitude concerns and less-than-stellar record in the Premier League.
Valued at £5.4m (according to transfermarkt.com), he would at least represent a budget option for a stop-gap striker with experience – a player profile that Manchester United have been all too familiar with in recent years.
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