Marko Arnautovic claims Paul Pogba’s transfer move to Manchester United scuppered his own move to Old Trafford after being tapped up by Jose Mourinho.
Arnautovic spent six years in the Premier League, first at Stoke City and then at West Ham United, scoring a combined 48 goals for the clubs.
The Austrian forward says Mourinho contacted him to discuss a move to United, having briefly worked together at Serie A club Inter Milan.
Arnautovic says Mourinho was keen to strike a deal but had his hands tied as the Red Devils had spent a record £89million on Pogba in the previous summer transfer window.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Arnautovic said: ‘Jose wanted me when I was at West Ham. He told me: “How much do you cost?”
‘After that I was like: “So, do you still want me?” However, his Manchester United side had bought Paul Pogba and didn’t have enough money to sign me.’
Pogba returned to United in 2016 but endured another tough spell at Old Trafford before re-joining Juventus last summer.
Arnautovic, meanwhile, was heavily linked with a move to United in the previous transfer window but the Premier League team appeared to back out after a backlash from supporters.
Discussing the failed move, Arnautovic recently said: ‘Manchester United tried to sign me several times. And it was a difficult decision to stay in Italy because my family wanted to return to England.
‘For me it’s clear that the Red Devils remain at the top of the universe. And Bologna, as a name, are not. But that’s fine. ‘Here everything is calm, you have time for yourself and no stress. This is only good for me.’
United did not end up signing a new striker last summer window but will certainly look to do so in January after releasing Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Red Devils, who are currently fifth in the Premier League, have been linked with Cody Gakpo, Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix and Lyon’s Moussa Dembele.