Manchester United’s pursuit of Marko Arnautovic has been initiated at the insistence of Erik ten Hag.
That is according to reliable journalist Florian Plettenberg, who also claims that United will go back to Bologna with an improved offer, having seen their initial bid rejected.
(Quotes vie TheUnitedStand on twitter)
“Erik ten Hag 100% wants Marko Arnautovic and #mufc want to increase their offer. Arnautovic wants the deal.”
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) August 8, 2022
The new manager worked with the Austrian international at FC Twente in the Eredivisie, where he was assistant coach to Steve McClaren, the pair having reversed their roles at Old Trafford.
Since that posting was over a decade ago, it is likely that Ten Hag’s interest is influenced more by his lack of a player with Arnautovic’s profile than simply by familiarity with his system – although the latter surely plays some role here.
United lack a physical presence up front and with the former West Ham striker in the 82nd percentile for Aerial duel success among forwards in Europe’s top five leagues last season (as per fbref), he would bring a different kind of threat to United’s attack.
Having scored 14 goals in the Serie A last season, this striker has at least had one good season at the top level in recent years, which was not the case the last time United went down the Shanghai striker route.
Bologna are keen on keeping their star player, having turned down an initial £6.5m approach.
But United’s intention to submit a second offer has been corroborated by Gianluca Di Marzio (via brfootball):
“Manchester United will increase their offer for Marko Arnautović after Bologna rejected their initial bid worth around $8M, per @DiMarzio”
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 8, 2022
Should an offer be accepted, and a deal completed, the player’s arrival will no doubt divide the club’s fanbase, with Arnautovic seemingly another in a long line of stop-gap options up front – before getting into his chequered past and concerns over his attitude.