Manchester United

Erik ten Hag dodges question about Man Utd chasing Marko Arnautovic

Toby Cudworth
Marko Arnautovic was linked with a surprise move to Man Utd
Marko Arnautovic was linked with a surprise move to Man Utd / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has refused to directly answer whether pursuing a deal for Marko Arnautovic was a mistake.

The Dutchman has seen United struggle to conclude deals in the summer transfer window, with the club's pursuit lengthy pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong a prime example of how difficult things have been.

Moves for Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez have been completed, but United still appear to be short in terms of what they need to compete for a top-four finish. They've also had to deal with intense speculation over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is keen to leave Old Trafford in pursuit of Champions League football - although Ten Hag has denied there is a problem.

Nevertheless, adding another striker to United's arsenal has been on Ten Hag's wish list all summer long, and the need to sign someone was further exacerbated by a recent injury to Anthony Martial.

Surprisingly, former West Ham and Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic was the player United identified as a target, but a social media backlash from supporters - amid allegations of racism from the 33-year-old - and an unwillingness from Bologna to do a deal saw the move quickly collapse.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Sean Walsh bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Man Utd's transfer market implosion in targeting deals for Adrien Rabiot & Marko Arnautovic, Man City's stance on selling Bernardo Silva to Barcelona, Wilfried Zaha's future and more. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

The subject of bidding for Arnautovic, who has worked with both Ten Hag and United assistant Steve McClaren in the past, was raised in the manager's latest press conference, but he refused to directly answer whether the pursuit was a mistake on the club's part.

"Also an assumption but I cannot speak about players who are under contract," Ten Hag replied. "When we have news, we will bring them like we did with Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia, with Lisandro Martinez. Then we will announce it.

"Of course, there are developments in the transfer market but still we have to get the players in who can contribute and not get players in who cannot do, then we have to do with the squad and then we have to improve the team."

Ten Hag also reiterated that United have no desire to sell Marcus Rashford, who has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.