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E. ten Hag

Man Utd want Arnautovic and Sesko transfers in effort to boost attack

17:44 BST 07/08/2022
Marko Arnautovic Bologna 2022-23
Erik ten Hag is determined to strengthen his forward line before the transfer window closes

Manchester United want to sign veteran Bologna striker Marko Arnautovic but will also try to secure a deal for RB Salzburg's Benjamin Sesko, GOAL understands. Erik ten Hag wants more depth in attack and sees the former Stoke and West Ham forward as a valuable squad player while seeing the younger Sesko as a long-term asset.

The need for reinforcements up front was underlined by the 2-1 defeat to Brighton on Sunday, which saw Bruno Fernandes deployed as a false No.9.

Why do United want Arnautovic?

Ten Hag believes 33-year-old Arnautovic can add experience and versatility to his forward line as a player capable of playing in wide positions or through the middle.

At a cost of around £8 million, the Bologna forward is also seen as an inexpensive option to boost numbers.

It is believed the player, who scored 14 goals last season, is also keen on a move to Old Trafford.

With Cristiano Ronaldo eager to leave this summer and Anthony Martial the club's only other senior striker, United are short of options up front.

Arnautovic is considered a different profile to United's other forwards and is known to Ten Hag, who worked with him at Twente.

It is believed a bid has already been made - but sources are adamant he is not considered a replacement for Ronaldo.

What did Ten Hag say about Arnautovic?

The Dutchman was coy when questioned about his interest – but did not deny he wanted to bring the Austrian in.

“I don’t go into names,” he said. “In this pre-season maybe 250 players are linked with Manchester United, so that is it.

“We have two strikers, maybe a third with [Marcus] Rashford. We considered him (to play centre-forward) but he had a really good pre-season on the left side and today he had two good chances so I think it was a good decision to play him there.”

What about Sesko?

United are among a host of clubs interested in 19-year-old Sesko and are trying to secure a deal before the close of the transfer window.

But Salzburg’s asking price of around £50 million ($60m) is seen as too high for the inexperienced teenager.

The club accept there has been a short-term approach to forwards in recent years with the signings of Odion Ighalo, Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo, who wants to leave the club.

Sesko is seen as evidence of their determination to identify future stars.