Marko Arnautovic is focused again on delivering for Bologna after he was linked with a remarkable move to Manchester United earlier this month.

The Austria international returned to Europe from the Chinese Super League last year, swapping Shanghai Port for the Serie A outfit ahead of the 2021-22 campaign as he signed a two-year deal.

A fine run of form last season saw him net 15 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions and attract the attention of United, who are managed by his former coach Erik ten Hag.

But the left-field bid from the Premier League giants was widely questioned, with the backlash seemingly warning United off a deal.

Speaking ahead of the new Serie A season, Arnautovic sought to move on swiftly from the episode as he looks ahead to another year with Bologna.

"The transfer market is the transfer market," he said.

"I have been in this world for many years, and I know that during the transfer market, there can always be interest from another team, but I'm focused on Bologna."

United's interest in Arnautovic came amid a rough start to the new Premier League season, with Ten Hag suffering an opening-weekend defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in his first match in charge.

Superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo appeared only from the bench following a disrupted pre-season, in which he was said to have pushed for an exit from the club to play Champions League football elsewhere.

 

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has joined the club's sporting director Marco Di Vaio in suggesting 33-year-old Manchester United target Marko Arnautovic will remain in Italy this season.

Arnautovic arrived at Bologna ahead of the 2021-22 campaign after three years with Shanghai Port in China, and it proved to be a savvy move from the Serie A side as he netted 15 goals in 34 appearances – eight more goals than any of his teammates.

Speaking before Bologna's Coppa Italia clash against Cosenza, Di Vaio said Arnautovic is at the centre of what he is trying to accomplish this season, and that "it's not a question of money, it's priceless for what it represents for us" before adding "he has no market value".

After the match, Mihajlovic told the media he believes the club will hold on to the big Austrian.

"If he were to go away it would be a great loss," he said. "I would be happy for him, but I think he will stay in the end.

"We talked to each other, surely if he stays here he will train well and do what he has to do. If he goes away we will see, but I don't think so."

United reportedly have had a €9million offer turned down, while Arnautovic's agent has confirmed "it's true that there is an offer from a well-known club."

Bologna sporting director Marco Di Vaio has warned Manchester United off a move for "priceless" forward Marko Arnautovic.

United are widely reported to have made an approach to try and bring Arnautovic back to the Premier League, where he previously represented West Ham United and Stoke City.

Erik ten Hag is short of options to lead the line, with Cristiano Ronaldo's future uncertain and Anthony Martial injured, but luring Arnautovic from Bologna will not be an easy task.

Speaking ahead of the Coppa Italia clash against Cosenza, Di Vaio made it clear that the Serie A club are not willing to negotiate over a deal.

"It is not easy to play in the market phase, there is a lot of talk, our will is to retain Marko. He is at the centre of our project," he told Italia 1.

"This interest makes us proud above all because it is an idea born by Sabatini [Walter, Bologna's former sporting director] and carried out by the club to realise a dream that was to bring him here after two three years in China.

"It was a bet won, he responded on the field and we want to move forward with him. Our will is not to sell, but to strengthen the team to make an important season."

Pressed over whether the club's stance would change if a significant offer was presented, Di Vaio suggested that would not be the case.

"It's not a question of money, it's priceless for what it represents for us," he explained.

"We want to move forward with him because we are convinced that he can do better and help us grow. He is always the first in training to spur others, he has no market value."

Marko Arnautovic's agent says they have received an offer from "a well-known club" amid reports linking Manchester United with a move for the Bologna forward.

The Austria international joined the Serie A outfit last term, having spent two years with Shanghai Port in the Chinese Super League, and remains under contract until 2024 with them.

But news broke over the weekend that United, who suffered an opening Premier League defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, were exploring a remarkable move for the 33-year-old.

Bologna have reportedly rejected an opening offer from the Old Trafford club, but now Danijel Arnautovic - both agent and brother to the star - has confirmed the existence of a bid and says they are working for a result.

"It's true that there is an offer from a well-known club," he told Kurier. "I'm in contact with Bologna to see if that can be realised."

Arnautovic previously spent a six-year spell in the English top-flight, with four years at Stoke City and two at West Ham, where he was voted Hammer of the Year in 2018.

Since arriving at Bologna last year, the attacker has arguably been in the best form of his career, netting 14 goals in 33 Serie A games last term.

News of a potential move for the star however has been met with a broadly negative reaction by many fans and figures associated with United, including former captain Gary Neville, who labelled them as "desperate".

After the best goalscoring season of his career, Valencia's Goncalo Guedes has reportedly earned a move to the Premier League, with Wolves said to be finalising a transfer worth up to £35million.

After arriving at the Spanish side back in 2017 from Paris Saint-Germain, the 25-year-old forward has established himself as a regular in Portugal's international side, collecting 32 senior caps and scoring the only goal in their 1-0 Nations League final win against the Netherlands in 2019.

Having never previously scored more than five league goals in a season, Guedes racked up 11, as well as six assists, in Valencia's last LaLiga campaign, and helped his side through to the final of the Copa del Rey.


TOP STORY – WOLVES CLOSE IN ON GUEDES

Wolves have no shortage of talent, boasting arguably the strongest Portuguese contingent in the Premier League, including manager Bruno Lage, and four starters from their opening fixture against Leeds United – Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence, Ruben Neves and Jose Sa, with Joao Moutinho and Nelson Semedo among the others in their ranks.

According to the Daily Mail, all signs point to Guedes being added to that list, while at the same time a starting position may be opening up as Morgan Gibbs-White's name continues to be included in heavy transfer speculation, with Nottingham Forest keen to sign him for a similar price Wolves will fork out in this reported deal.

Flipping an unproven talent like Gibbs-White into an established international performer like Guedes would likely be seen as a win by the club, but if they do wish to retain their English midfielder, the Daily Mail is also reporting they should be able to collect £12m from Everton in exchange for centre-back Conor Coady.


ROUND-UP

– The Guardian is reporting Leicester City and Southampton are interested in Callum Hudson-Odoi after the 21-year-old informed Chelsea he would like to leave on loan, and the Daily Mail claim Borussia Dortmund are also a potential landing spot.

– The Mail is also reporting that Chelsea's Timo Werner is close to a permanent deal to return to RB Leipzig, with the fee said to be around £30m.

– According to the Northern Echo, Newcastle United have decided to make a run at in-demand 19-year-old striker and Manchester United target Benjamin Sesko from Salzburg.

Feyenoord have accepted a £12.6m bid from Bournemouth for 25-year-old Argentine defender Marcos Senesi, per The Sun.

– The Athletic is reporting United have made a £6.8m bid for 33-year-old Bologna striker Marko Arnautovic, who has previously spent six seasons in the Premier League between Stoke City and West Ham.

Gary Neville launched a scathing attack on Manchester United's transfer strategy after their 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, labelling the Red Devils "desperate" amid reports linking them with Marko Arnautovic.

United began the Erik ten Hag era in dismal fashion on Sunday as Pascal Gross' double condemned them to an opening-day defeat to the Seagulls.

The result made Ten Hag the first United boss to lose his first Premier League game at the helm since Louis van Gaal did so against Swansea City in August 2014.

With wantaway striker Cristiano Ronaldo starting on the bench and fellow forward Anthony Martial injured, United struggled to test a resolute Brighton rearguard and only pulled a goal back when Alexis Mac Allister put through his own net.

In the aftermath of United's defeat, widespread reports suggested they had a £7.6million (€9m) bid for Bologna's 33-year-old forward Arnautovic rejected.

United have also failed to entice top target Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona thus far, and Neville did not hold back when discussing the club's recruitment.

"The first thing you do when the phone rings from Manchester United is reject the bid, because the reality of it is after losing that game against Brighton on Sunday, they're actually negotiating from an even worse position than they were on Saturday, and that's an even bigger problem for them," the former United defender said on Sky Sports.

"I've got a comment on everything in the world, apart from Manchester United signing Marko Arnautovic. I've got nothing to say.

"We've seen Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison 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."

Micah Richards was also unimpressed by the potential acquisition of Arnautovic, adding: "What has happened to Manchester United, seriously? I'm not going to stick the boot in. Arnautovic was a quality player, but he's 33 playing in Italy."

After playing in the Premier League for Stoke City and West Ham, Arnautovic spent two years in China with Shanghai Port before moving to Bologna – for whom he scored 14 Serie A goals last season – in 2021.

In his post-match media conference, Ten Hag declined to mention Arnautovic by name, only lamenting the unavailability of the strikers in his squad, with Ronaldo limited to a substitute appearance.

"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," Ten Hag said. "We have two strikers, maybe a third one, with Marcus Rashford as well.

"We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good pre-season on the left side and today he had two really good chances coming in from the left side.

"So I think it was the right decision to do it like this, the typical number nine wasn't available today."

Juventus have allowed Andrea Cambiaso to join Bologna on loan, just a day after signing the left-back from Genoa.

Massimiliano Allegri's side confirmed the arrival on Thursday of Cambiaso, who agreed a five-year deal after Juve paid a reported €8.5million to Serie B side Genoa. 

Cambiaso, who made 26 league appearances as Genoa suffered Serie A relegation last season, will eventually hope to compete with the likes of Alex Sandro, Danilo and Juan Cuadrado for a starting spot in Turin.

But the 22-year-old will have to wait for his chance to prove his worth as he will spend the 2022-23 season on loan at Bologna, who sold full-back Aaron Hickey to Brentford.

Cambiaso will aim to fill the void left by Hickey, who departed for a fee in the region of £14m (€16.6m), after the Scotland international appeared 48 times in all competitions, 36 of those outings coming last season.

The former Genoa defender will hope to get his first Serie A appearance for Bologna at Lazio on August 14, the day before Juve host Sassuolo to start their league campaign.

Brentford have signed Scotland international full-back Aaron Hickey from Bologna for a reported club-record fee in the region of £14million (€16.6m).

The 20-year-old's arrival on a four-year deal, which also includes a series of add-ons, was officially confirmed by Brentford on Saturday.

Hickey spent two years in Serie A with Bologna after arriving from Scottish side Hearts and played 48 times in all competitions, 36 of those appearances coming last season.

He scored five goals and assisted one more in the Italian top flight last term and his form was rewarded with the first of four caps for the Scotland national side in March.

Among Serie A defenders in the 2021-22 season, only Domenico Criscito (six) and Nahuel Molina (seven) of Genoa and Udinese respectively scored more goals 

The fee paid by Brentford eclipses the £13.5million splashed out to sign Kristoffer Ajer last year as they gear up for their second campaign of Premier League football.

"I am very pleased that we have managed to sign Aaron. What he has already achieved in his career is very impressive," Bees boss Thomas Frank said. 

"He is only 20 and has played a full season in Scotland as well as almost two seasons in Serie A.

"Aaron is a rare thing in modern football in that he is equally good with both feet. He is technically very sound and is good when he has the ball in tight areas. 

"He is an attacking full-back that has good creativity, he is a great crosser of the ball, and scored goals in Serie A last year."

Hickey becomes the first signing of the window for Brentford, who are also rumoured to be in the market for a new midfielder after Christian Eriksen's short-term contract expired at the end of last season.

Sinisa Mihajlovic said it felt "wonderful" to be back on duty with Bologna after revealing his hospital stay proved mentally testing.

The Serbian head coach underwent leukaemia treatment at the Sant'Orsola hospital after tests set off what Mihajlovic described as "alarm bells".

Mihajlovic joked with journalists on Saturday that he could become a tour guide for the hospital after his coaching career, having spent so long there as a patient.

For now, the 53-year-old is glad to be involved in Serie A action again, with his team facing Venezia on Sunday.

Mihajlovic's team have been in excellent form in his absence, earning results against Milan, Juventus, Inter, and Roma during a six-match unbeaten run.

Greeting reporters on Saturday, Mihajlovic jokingly said: "I missed you too, you are a necessary evil. When you go through certain moments, you realise how much you miss even the things that you wouldn't imagine, like talking to you."

The former Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter star was first diagnosed with leukaemia in 2019 and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October of that year, returning to the Bologna dugout just six weeks later.

When he discovered a problem in March, former hard-man defender Mihajlovic said the leukaemia was "very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me".

Speaking of his hospital experience on Saturday, Mihajlovic said: "This time it was tougher from a mental point of view. Due to COVID [restrictions], I had to be alone all the time. I only saw my wife for three hours in a day."

In his absence, he was named Serie A coach of the month for April in a gesture of support from league chiefs.

"To spend time on the pitch again has been wonderful," Mihajlovic said. "These are emotions that unfortunately I have already experienced. Health makes you enjoy life, but illness makes you understand its meaning well.

"The family – both the blood one, but also my players – have given me strength thanks to technology.

"I take this opportunity to thank the team, club, staff, doctors and nurses who have always been close to me. I feel at home now at Sant'Orsola. When I stop coaching I'll be a tourist guide in the hospital."

Sinisa Mihajlovic has been discharged from hospital "in good condition" after undergoing further leukaemia treatment, Bologna have announced.

The Serbian coach, who enjoyed an illustrious playing career in Serie A with the likes of Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter, was first diagnosed with the disease in 2019 and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2019, returning to the Bologna dugout just six weeks later.

Mihajlovic revealed in late March that routine tests had discovered "some alarm bells", leading him to step back from hands-on coaching duties for an unspecified amount of time and to declare "this disease is very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me."

An encouraging social media update from his club announced the news of Mihajlovic's exit from hospital on Monday.

"Sinisa Mihajlovic was today discharged from the Sant'Orsola Hospital, in good condition. Forza Mister, we are with you," read the tweet from Bologna's official account.

Mihajlovic's team have been in excellent form in Serie A of late, earning results against each of Milan, Juventus, Inter, and Roma during a six-match unbeaten run, with the 53-year-old receiving a surprise visit from his squad after they beat the title-chasing Nerazzurri 2-1 in dramatic fashion last week.

Simeone Inzaghi expects the Serie A title race to provide more surprises as Inter look to chase down rivals Milan, although he admits the Nerazzurri camp was in low spirits after a loss to Bologna.

Despite scoring their fastest goal of the Serie A season to take the lead at Bologna when Ivan Perisic found the net after 2 minutes and 53 seconds, Inter fell to a 2-1 defeat after goals from Marko Arnautovic and Nicola Sansone, leaving them two points adrift of the Rossoneri.  

The Nerazzurri had been unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions prior to the defeat, and it represented their first league loss at bottom-half opponents since January 2021. 

Inter will now require at least one slip-up from Stefano Pioli's team in order to retain the title, and although Inzaghi acknowledges Wednesday's defeat was a deflating result, he believes there are more twists to come.

"The mood was not the best, the disappointment has been strong," Inzaghi said. "In these days, however, I have seen an excellent team spirit, they want to believe until the end. 

"Every match will be tough for everyone, at the end of the season we will do the count. We will try to give satisfaction to the fans after doing it [winning a trophy] with the Super Cup [which Inter lifted in January].

"When you lose games, you always make mistakes. In Bologna we had to be more clinical in the first half, and we didn't succeed. 

"Winning would have given us primacy and instead we have to chase. With my staff we can [only] affect ourselves: every Sunday there are surprises and there are still four games to go.

"In Bologna we didn't have to finish the first half level, we needed more goals given the many opportunities we created. Now, anything can happen."

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic started on the bench at Bologna after struggling with a back injury, and remains a doubt for the clash with Udinese on Sunday.

Ionut Radu started in the place of Handanovic, who has kept 14 clean sheets and recorded a save percentage of 77.39 per cent in Serie A this term, but gifted Bologna's Sansone a last-gasp winner after failing to control a back-pass. 

Although Inzaghi did not rule out a return for Handanovic against Udinese, he reiterated his confidence in Radu.

"He [Handanovic] has an important problem, today he has done a partial customized training and there is some hope. Tomorrow we will see, he will try," Inzaghi added.

"[If not], for sure Radu will play, he has my utmost confidence and I think he will have an important career ahead of him even though he has played very little this year."

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi backed his side to respond from defeat at Bologna but conceded the Scudetto race is out of the Nerazzurri's hands.

Milan returned to the Serie A summit with victory at Lazio on Sunday and Inter initially made a positive response when Ivan Perisic struck after just two minutes and 53 seconds at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Wednesday. 

That was the Nerazzurri's fastest league strike of the season but Marko Arnautovic equalised against his former club with his 13th league goal this term, his best tally in a single campaign in Europe's top five leagues.

A costly Ionut Radu error was then punished by substitute Nicola Sansone with nine minutes remaining as Inter dropped ground in the Scudetto race, the 2-1 defeat leaving them two points behind Milan with four games left.

Milan also have a superior head-to-head record against their neighbours and Inzaghi acknowledged that the title destination is no longer in his team's control.

"Now it is difficult but I know I have a team of great men who will do everything to end this championship well. Now we are no longer masters of our destiny," he told reporters after the game.

While appreciating the dent to Inter's title hopes after defeat at Bologna, who had previously not beaten Inter at home in 15 Serie A attempts, Inzaghi is refusing to give up hope.

"There are four games left, we have seen that it was a championship of surprises and games played to the end," he added. 

"There are still 12 points up for grabs and anything can happen."

Inzaghi was quick to defend Radu for his mistake when failing to control Perisic's pass that led to Sansone's winner, in what was the goalkeeper's first Serie A appearance of the season due to the injury of first-choice Samir Handanovic.

"There is disappointment as it is normal for there to be after a game lost in this way," he told DAZN. "The mood was not the best, Radu made a mistake like I or a striker and a midfielder can.

"When a goalkeeper makes a mistake, everything is highlighted more. Now we have to react to a burning defeat, facing one game at a time knowing that we are no longer masters of our destiny."

Inter will look to respond in their Scudetto push when they visit Udinese on Sunday.

Nicola Sansone scored a late winner as Inter relinquished their grasp on the Scudetto and failed to return to the Serie A summit after a 2-1 defeat at Bologna on Wednesday.

Milan regained top spot in the league with late victory at Lazio on Sunday and Inter made a good response in their game in hand at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara when Ivan Perisic struck after just three minutes.

Marko Arnautovic restored parity against his former side 25 minutes later, though, and Sansone profited from an Ionut Radu mistake with nine minutes remaining to seal an unlikely victory.

Defeat left Inter two points behind leaders Milan with four games left to play as the neighbours battle for the title.

Perisic blasted Inter into an early lead in expert fashion, nutmegging Musa Barrow before powering a left-footed thunderbolt into the top-right corner.

A stinging drive from Federico Dimarco tested Lukasz Skorupski, before Lautaro Martinez wastefully fired over a presentable rebound to double the lead.

Arnautovic then levelled things up by heading Barrow's left-wing cross into the bottom-right corner, while Denzel Dumfries spurned a headed chance from Perisic's centre at the other end.

Dimarco blazed over after the interval and twice tamely found Skorupski's hands when unmarked from the edge of the area, before the Bologna goalkeeper denied Milan Skriniar's goal-bound header.

Inzaghi sent on forwards Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez in search of a late winner, but it was starting striker Martinez who headed over Hakan Calhanoglu's corner.

Radu then handed Bologna victory as he missed a simple Perisic pass backwards, with Sansone converting a simple tap in to punish the Inter goalkeeper.

What does it mean? Inter falter in Scudetto charge

Reigning champions Inter were unbeaten in 15 previous visits to Bologna in Serie A and dominated once more but were punished for failing to make their dominance pay against Miroslav Tanjga's side.

Indeed, the visitors fired 26 shots to Bologna's five, but the profligate nature of the Nerazzurri came back to haunt Simone Inzaghi's side. Inter will now have to rely on leaders Milan slipping up in their last four games to overturn the two-point deficit.

Awesome Arnautovic

Arnautovic came back to thwart his former side, with his first-half header dragging Bologna back into the contest.

The Austria international has scored 13 goals in Serie A this season, his highest tally in a single campaign across Europe's top five leagues.

Miserable Martinez

Martinez had scored four goals in three games across all competitions, including a Coppa Italia semi-final brace against Milan on Tuesday, but failed to leave his mark at Bologna.

The Argentina international squandered a great first-half opening, one of a game-high six shots he attempted, though the striker only found the target with one of those.

What's next?

Inter will look to respond in their title charge when they visit Udinese on Sunday, while Bologna travel to Roma on the same day.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged the Bianconeri's slim title hopes were over despite Dusan Vlahovic's dramatic late equaliser against Bologna.

The Serbian striker scored the 50th goal of his Serie A career five minutes into stoppage time to spare the blushes of the Turin giants, who were on course for an embarrassing loss despite Adama Soumaoro and Gary Medel receiving late red cards for Bologna after Marko Arnautovic's second-half opener.

The result marked the first time Juventus have failed to defeat Bologna since February 2016 and left Allegri's men eight points behind league leaders Milan with just five games remaining, as their hopes of a 10th Scudetto in 11 seasons faded.

Juventus failed to register a single shot on target during a dismal first-half showing, the fifth time they have done so during Allegri's first season back at the helm but first since facing Fiorentina in November.

The 54-year-old insisted after the draw that the Bianconeri were embroiled in a four-way battle for Champions League football rather than the title race, acknowledging his team needed to show more patience against a stubborn Bologna defence. 

"This year Juve is not fighting for the Scudetto," Allegri said. "We had gotten close to Inter, even until today, when we stopped. 

"In football, however, anything could happen. Reaching fourth place remains an important goal. I think Fiorentina have a good calendar and a direct match against us. Then there are also Lazio and Roma.

"We take one step at a time. In football you think one thing and another happens. We have to be calmer. The games last a long time and there is always time to win them."

Juventus hold a lead of six points over fifth-placed Roma in the Serie A table, having played one extra game ahead of the Giallorossi facing Napoli on Monday.

Allegri refused to criticise his team for a below-bar display, however, suggesting they would have lost the same game had it occurred at the start of the season.

"We managed to equalise a match that had become complicated after playing a bad first half," he added. "Immediately [after conceding] we hit the post and shot more on goal. 

"Lately we have conceded too many goals, we need to improve, but we would have lost these games at the beginning of the season. Let's look at the glass half full."

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci also rued the Old Lady's lack of patience when faced with breaking down their opponents, as Bologna avoided defeat at Juventus for the first time since September 2011.

"We tried to push and put pressure on after the equaliser," the 34-year-old said. "With more clarity we could also have scored the second goal, given their numerical inferiority. 

"It was a pity because three points could have given us so much."

With Juve seemingly out of the Serie A title race, their last hope of silverware this season is the Coppa Italia, in which they host Fiorentina on Wednesday after winning their semi-final first leg 1-0.

Dusan Vlahovic netted a stoppage-time equaliser as Juventus rescued a 1-1 draw against nine-man Bologna in Turin, though the result still dealt a severe blow to their slender title hopes. 

Juve failed to create clear-cut chances during a dismal first-half display before Marko Arnautovic's goal put Bologna ahead.

Yet the match sparked into life in the final stages when Adama Soumaoro and Gary Medel both received red cards amid remarkable scenes.

Juve made their numerical advantage count when Vlahovic nodded in on the line from Alvaro Morata's acrobatic attempt to salvage a point that leaves them eight behind Serie A leaders Milan.

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