International striker reveals ‘top of the universe’ Man Utd have tried to sign him ‘several times’

Marko Arnautovic Bologna

Marko Arnautovic confirmed that he was close to leaving Bologna for Manchester United in the summer and that it’s not the first time the Red Devils have tried to sign him.

The 33-year-old Austria international had an impressive record for the Italian outfit last season, scoring 14 goals in 33 Serie A outings and attracted plenty of interest as a result.

United are known to have seriously considered moving for the former Stoke and West Ham man, despite suffering some criticism when their interest became clear.

The Red Devils ended up looking elsewhere after becoming aware that fans were not impressed with the potential swoop.

And speaking to Laola1, Arnautovic reflected on his failed summer switch and United’s previous interest in his services.

He said: “Manchester United tried to sign me several times. And it was a difficult decision to stay in Italy because my family wanted to return to England.

“For me it’s clear that the Red Devils remain at the top of the universe. And Bologna, as a name, are not. But that’s fine.

“Here everything is calm, you have time for yourself and no stress. This is only good for me.”

Arnautovic has proved that his form last term was no fluke after another superb start to the new campaign.

The forward has notched eight goals in 13 league games under Sinisa Mihajlovic and Thiago Motta. He is also contracted to the Serie until 2024.

And while United are expected to be in the market for an attacker in January, as they continue to look at ways to get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo, Arnautovic is no longer on their radar.

United tipped to make January splash for forward

Indeed, several names have been tipped to replace the Old Trafford legend.

Those names include an improbable move for Kylian Mpabbe, while Lille’s Jonathan David remains a potential option.

Erik ten Hag is also a big fan of highly-rated PSV star Cody Gakpo. However, the Netherlands international is predominantly a winger, which would mean pushing Marcus Rashford in a central role full-time, unless Ten Hag prefers Anthony Martial in that position.

Gakpo is currently valued at around £40m, but United will have to beat out rivals to his signature.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea have all had scouts watching the attacker this season. However, there is a strong feeling that Ten Hag’s links to his homeland would give United the edge in a transfer battle.

United are not back in domestic action until December 21 when they host Burnley in the Carabao Cup.

READ MORE: Mauricio Pochettino reveals main reason he was snubbed by Man Utd as successor to Ralf Rangnick