Marko Arnautovic to Man United isn’t as weird as you think

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It could be because there’s little else going on in club football right now with the World Cup around the corner.

But Manchester United’s rumoured pursuit of Marko Arnautovic from West Ham United has been the transfer topic of the week.

Jose Mourinho already signed one 29-year-old forward in Alexis Sanchez in January, so why does he want another?

Arnautovic scored 11 goals and supplied six assists for the Hammers last term. He was arguably their finest player.

But the Austrian has spent five years in the Premier League and only sporadically has he lit it up.

However, the tall, languid striker is of a similar ilk to Old Trafford heroes gone by.

Dimitar Berbatov, Teddy Sheringham and Eric Cantona all possessed attributes akin to Arnautovic.

The trio were each known for their intelligent reading of the game and delicate skill, rather than outright pace and trickery. All three were signed between the ages of 26 and 31, too.

And particularly with Berbatov and Cantona, they weren’t known for banging in 20 goals a season.

But all three were hugely successful at the Theatre of Dreams, and are now lauded in M16 as multiple Premier League champions. Could Arnautovic be next?

United are blessed with a blistering array of strikers. Think Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and the aforementioned Sanchez.

But too often last season they failed to break down well-organised defences. Too often they were forced to play it sideways or out wide.

They failed to score against Southampton, West Bromwich Albion, Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham last term.

That’s where the Arnautovic interest comes in. His clever play and reading of attacks could be the key which unlocks Mourinho’s rapid strikeforce.

Cantona’s legend is as much built on his ability to bring others into the game, as it is his own unique skillset.

Sheringham helped Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flourish, while  Berbatov did the same for Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Is that what Arnautovic is about to do for Lingard, Rashford, Martial, Sanchez and Lukaku? Watch this space.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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