“He behaved like a true champion” – Club chief claims 33-year-old star turned down Manchester United transfer in the summer

Erik ten Hag was in the market for a new forward this summer.
Erik ten Hag was in the market for a new forward this summer.

Marco Di Vaio, director of football at Serie A side Bologna, has revealed that forward Marko Arnautovic was the one who turned down a move to Manchester United.

The Red Devils were surprisingly linked with a move for the former West Ham United forward towards the latter stages of the summer transfer window. However, it was reported that United pulled out of their interest following a backlash from the fans (via Sports Mole).

Di Vaio, however, contradicts those claims. The Bologna chief has claimed that it was Arnautovic who turned down the chance to join Manchester United instead.

Di Vaio also provided reasons why the Austrian attacker decided to stay with the Serie A side.

Speaking to Corriere Dello Sport (via Sports Mole), the Bologna chief was quoted as saying the following:

"We did great work with Marko. We've always highlighted how much we trust him. Juventus never made a direct request, [Manchester] United did. United didn't retire from the race because of their fans, but only because Arnautovic understood how important he was for Bologna's project. He behaved like a true champion, understanding what he meant to Bologna as a city and a club."

He added:

"He's a point of reference on and off the pitch. I was surprised by his involvement. He is helping young players. He has an 'English' approach. He always gives his all."

The Austrian striker has scored six goals in seven Serie A matches for Bologna so far this season.

Manchester United made a poor start to the 2022-23 season. Erik ten Hag's side suffered two consecutive defeats at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion (2-1) and Brentford (4-0) in their first two games in the Premier League.

This poor form prompted United to look for a new centre-forward. Following their setback with Arnautovic, Manchester United did manage to bring in an attacker towards the end of the transfer window.

The Red Devils splashed around £86 million to sign Brazilian forward Antony from Ajax. The attacker scored on his Premier League debut against Arsenal in a 3-1 win.

Manchester United take on city-rivals Manchester City in the Premier League

Manchester United take on rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, October 2 at the Etihad Stadium. The Red Devils will play their first match in the league since beating Arsenal at Old Trafford on September 4.

Erik ten Hag's side are currently fifth in the standings, having picked up 12 points from their opening six league games. They are currently on a four-match win streak in the league.

Manchester City, meanwhile, are second in the league, one point behind leaders Arsenal. They are one of the only two sides who are unbeaten in the league so far, along with Tottenham Hotspur.

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Edited by Aditya Singh