‘Silly season’ is upon us.
That part of the year before the transfer window officially opens when agents are trying to position themselves front and centre.
When players are trying to get a few extra million and extended contracts from their clubs, and managers are sniffing out a bargain or two.
Column inches need to be filled and as a result, it’s not uncommon for the most outrageous rumours to have ‘legs.’
Ultimately, many of those rumours don’t come to fruition, but if enough stories are pumped out, then surely one will end up hitting the mark.
One such rumour doing the rounds at the moment is Manchester United’s apparent willingness to purchase West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic.
Given the rate at which transfer prices have skyrocketed, we can deduce that a minimum of £50m will need to be spent by the Red Devils to even get the Hammers to the negotiating table.
But what’s the likelihood of that happening?
Jose Mourinho knows the player from their time together at Inter, and one would assume the Portuguese has followed the striker’s progress in the recent past.
He’ll also recall that he labelled the Austrian as a ‘child,’ ‘unmanageable’ and ‘Balotelli’s best friend’ when they coincided in Italy.
However, his need for a backup striker for Romelu Lukaku has been evident across the past season.
It seems fairly clear that both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are not in Mourinho’s long-term plans and Arnautovic has the advantage of being able to play on either side and as a main striker.
He ticks an awful lot of boxes for what United need at this point.
Goalscoring isn’t his greatest attribute and even though he improved in this aspect of his game under David Moyes, he still averages just one in three.
But Mourinho has others who can ease the burden on that front.
What he doesn’t have is someone of Arnautovic’s stature and work rate to complement Lukaku and save the Belgian from the bouts of tiredness that he’s suffered from in the past 12 months.
How well do you know European and world football? Want to challenge the best Fantasy Football Managers? Play www.fantasy-worldcup.com now!