Marko Arnautovic: Manchester United end controversial pursuit of Bologna striker | OneFootball

Marko Arnautovic: Manchester United end controversial pursuit of Bologna striker

Logo: The Independent

The Independent

Manchester United have ended their controversial pursuit of Bologna striker Marko Arnautovic amid a backlash from supporters.

Arnautovic had emerged as a surprise target for Erik ten Hag amid uncertainty over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford and a lack of options up front following a hamstring injury to Anthony Martial.

The 33-year-old striker previously worked under Ten Hag during at FC Twente and was viewed as more physical alternative to United’s other options in attack who could provide short-term cover.

However, United’s interest in Arnautovic was greeted with criticism from supporters already frustrated at the lack of progress made on priority targets in the summer transfer window.

It is understood that supporters also contacted senior United officials with concerns over Arnautovic’s past conduct. The Austria interntional - who is half-Serbian - was banned for one game at last summer’s European Championship after for “insulting another player” after scoring against North Macedonia.

The Football Federation of Macedonia condemned Arnautovic for a “nationalistic outburst” but while the 33-year-old apologised for his celebration of the goal, he denied using racist language.

Arnautovic also denied allegations that he racially abused an opponent while playing for Twente in 2009. Steve McClaren, the United assistant manager, was in charge of Twente at the time, with Ten Hag working as his No 2. United have not commented on their reasoning for ending their pursuit of Arnautovic.

United are now expected to move onto other targets, while pushing ahead with a deal to sign Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

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