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Manchester United squad analysis, signings, transfer rumours, opinion, Erik ten Hag, Marko Arnautovic

There is no better summary of Manchester United’s current pursuit of the 33-year-old striker, who only played in China a year ago and has well-documented ego issues.

Even then, Marko Arnautovic is not guaranteed to join the Red Devils.

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As if we needed another reminder of the iconic club’s shocking collapse. A big part of that decline, according to top pundits, was the club’s dire recruitment drive, particularly in Erik ten Hag’s first transfer window since taking over at Old Trafford.

Lisandro Martínez (Ajax, $96 million), Tyrell Malacia (Feyenoord, $24 million) and Christian Eriksen (free) in the arrivals hall at Manchester Airport.

Punter doesn’t need a rocket science degree to figure out that all three signees weren’t exactly plucked from obscurity, or from the various databases run by United’s recruiting team.

Ten Haag coached Martinez last year, Eriksen played for Ajax and the coach knows the Malaysian from his exploits in the Eredivisie.

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All three signings require a footballing comfort blanket in an age where clubs rely on data and statistics to find the right player.

Ten Haag and Arnautovic worked together briefly when the duo were at Dutch club FC Twente.

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong – who managed Ten Hag at Ajax – has had more bad luck so far, further evidence that the United boss has gone with what he knows and has not dared to be bold in the market.

Telegraph’s Jason Burt has been bold in his analysis of United in the summer window.

“There is no other way to describe it,” Burt wrote.

The recruitment has been – and has been for a while – simply awful and it’s a sign that United’s brilliance is fading, but it’s also an indictment that they’re in charge and right for the job.

“Hundreds of millions of pounds have been wasted and where is the strategy?”

Regardless of where he came from, United’s attacking situation has helped make the club’s status a laughing stock.

Against Brighton, the Red Devils have been fielding Eriksen in a false nine with Marcus Rashford on the left, Bruno Fernandes in center forward and Jadon Sancho on the right.

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Seagulls brought in Danny Welbeck, who was sold to United in 2014, and made it his personal mission to torment Harry Maguire in United’s defence.

Eriksen, meanwhile, looked like a lost child at the airport as he didn’t know what to do before switching to his familiar midfield role after half an hour and putting in a much better display.

Of course, Anthony Martial’s injury and Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable lack of fitness forced the ten-hag’s hand.

But like Burt He pointed out that it is a problem in itself for United to pin their hopes on the two.

“He (Martial) was injured but United wanted him to stay at Sevilla last season – which was never going to happen – and an official said he would happily send him back to France as long as he left the club,” Burt wrote. .

“Now it’s a hunter in the attack.”

As for Ronaldo, his saga Burt believes that “the ten-year-old Hag has moved reasonably well but he could be a millstone dragging him down without anyone else to play with rather than the Portuguese who can score some goals.”

The lack of a striker is another indication of a shambolic transfer scheme. Athletics Laurie Whitwell describes her as “over-reactive.”

Whitwell said: “United’s recruitment process has been fractured by decision and negotiations have been tightly packed.”

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“The chase is too often reactive rather than proactive.

“Manchester City won the championship and signed Erling Haaland. Liverpool came on second and brought on Darwin Nunez.

United are trying to sign 33-year-old Marko Arnautovic after finishing sixth in their worst campaign in Premier League history.

Of course, there is still time left in the transfer window where Ten Hag could expand his transfer target and it seems possible, but for the right targets?

This move looks set to go over the line if United return to Arnautovic.

But apart from his family, friends and perhaps a few patriotic Austrians who are over the moon like United fans, there will be no rush to buy a shirt with Arnautovic’s name on the back.

The athletics United are reportedly in talks to sign midfielder Adrien Rabiot from Juventus.

Yes, the same Rabiot whose mother yelled at Kylian Mbappe’s father when he missed a penalty in the shootout that sent France crashing out of Euro 2020 to Switzerland.

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A penny for Mrs. Rabiot’s thoughts as she watched her son play.

Then there are the whispers that United are in talks with Red Bull Salzburg over the Slovenian striker Benjamin Cesko.

Just 19-years-old, Cesco is expected to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact for the Red Devils.

How will he handle the sky-high expectations from fans who crave success but haven’t had much to shout about in recent years?

Even then, Cescó is by no means guaranteed to join United, with reports that Paris Saint-Germain have joined the race for the teenager’s signature, leaving the ten-year-old looking for options.

At some point, things get better at the Theater of Dreams.

But now fans have to work on a theater of nightmares and the club’s current transfer plan means that anyone associated with the club will stay longer than they would like.

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