Manchester United have been speaking to Serie A side Bologna about signing Marko Arnautovic since it became apparent that Cristiano Ronaldo’s future may not be at Old Trafford.
United believe their forward line is too lightweight physically and also in numbers, and both points were evident in their opening 2-1 Premier League home defeat to Brighton on Sunday, when Christian Eriksen started as a false nine.
New manager Erik ten Hag wants the option of Arnautovic, 33, who scored 14 times in Serie A last season, though their first offer of £9 million ($10.86m) was rejected.
Ten Hag knows him from when he played for Twente in Holland, while Arnautovic has also appeared in the Premier League with West Ham, where he scored 22 goals in 65 games, and Stoke City.
The Austrian has also played for Internazionale and Shanghai, and scored 33 goals in 102 international matches.
United’s scouting department has recommended forwards Erling Haaland, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Benjamin Sesko – some of them several times – in recent years, but none have been signed. Since Ten Hag joined from Ajax, he has pushed for and got some of the players he wants.