Marko Arnautovic talked up Ronaldo and Neville once accused him of trying to be him

Marko Arnautovic is a surprise transfer target for Manchester United, according to reports from The Athletic and Italian newspaper Il Resto di Carlino.

The Austrian could head to United to provide strike back-up for the club’s short-handed frontline, which saw the team start the first game of the season without a striker.

It’s unclear if Arnautovic would actually become a teammate for Cristiano Ronaldo, or actually be part of United’s solution for the Portuguese star’s departure.

Arnautovic previously worked under Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag at FC Twente.

READ MORE: Confirmed Manchester United transfers, ins, outs, loans, releases for 2022/23

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Arnautovic talked up Ronaldo

Whether he plays alongside Ronaldo or not remains to be seen. But we do know Arnautovic is a huge fan of the Manchester United number 7.

Quoted by Portuguese newspaper Record, Arnautovic said: “When it comes to Ronaldo, we are not talking about a human being. What else can I say about him?

“For me, they [Ronaldo and Messi] are two players who came from a different planet. They came from a completely different place. They arrive here and in a short time they shake up all the leagues and competitions, take all the trophies with them and then leave.”

Arnautovic plays with a swagger about him and at times can rub people up the wrong way. One of these was former United defender Gary Neville.

(GERMANY OUT) FUSSBALL EURO 2016 GRUPPE F IN PARIS Portugal – Oesterreich Marko Arnautovic (li, Oesterreich) gegen Cristiano Ronaldo (re, Portugal) (Photo by Pressefoto Ulmer\ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Speaking to Goal in 2017, Neville compared Arnautovic to Ronaldo, and not in a positive sense.

He said: “I have only ever played with one player that had an excuse not to track back and that was Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored 40 goals in a season.

“Arnautovic is Ronaldo in his own mind. That’s the problem, he thinks he is better than he is.”

Ten Hag will know what he is getting into, having worked with the Austrian before, and that’s somewhat reassuring, but a move for the 33-year-old doesn’t exactly smack of long-term strategy, and will only be yet another short-term fix.

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