Manchester United could end up with a combined age of 70 up front with Marko Arnautovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Premier League side have seen a surprise £7.6million bid for Arnautovic rejected by Bologna but remain keen to lure the 33-year-old back to England.
Arnautovic bagged 43 Premier League goals across spells at Stoke and West Ham before joining Chinese Super League side Shanghai Port in 2019.
The Austria forward swapped China for Italy last summer and scored 14 goals in 33 Serie A matches for Bologna, sparking interest from United.
Manager Erik ten Hag is thought to like Arnautovic’s versatility as a player who can operate through the middle or out wide.
Amid uncertainty over 37-year-old Ronaldo’s future and an injury to first first-choice No.9 Anthony Martial, the Red Devils look short up front.
When asked about a failed bid for Arnautovic on Sunday, Ten Hag said: “I don’t go into names because I think in this pre-season 250 players are involved or linked with Manchester United, so that’s it.
“We have two strikers, maybe a third one, with Marcus Rashford as well.”
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A disgruntled Old Trafford watched United lose 2-1 to Brighton in their opening Premier League match.
If United are successful in their bid for Arnautovic, it would be the second consecutive season that Man United start with a combined age of 70 up front, following Edinson Cavani’s stint at the club.
And legend Gary Neville suggests the bid reinforces a desperate pattern from those in charge of the Red Devils.
“I’ve got a comment on everything in the world, apart from Manchester United signing Marko Arnautovic. I’ve got nothing to say,” Neville said.
“We’ve seen Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Odion Ighalo – desperate, it’s a pattern. It’s happening time and time again. I don’t even get angry or animated about it anymore. I’m not going to comment about it.”
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