Bologna insist Marko Arnautovic is not for sale despite interest from Manchester United, according to the club’s sporting director Marco Di Vaio.
The former West Ham and Stoke City forward scored 14 goals in Serie A last season for Bologna after spending three years in China at Shanghai Port where he scored 20 goals in 39 appearances.
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The Austrian is known to United boss Erik ten Hag and assistant Steve McLaren from their collective time at FC Twente in the Eredivisie from 2008 to 2010.
Di Vaio – who scored 230 goals in 575 matches himself as a player before retiring in 2014 – says Arnautovic is “priceless”.
“We want to keep going with Arnautovic and keep him, he’s at the centre of our project,” Di Vaio told Italia 1 ahead of Bologna’s Coppa Italia first round match against Cosenza on Monday – which Arnautovic started in.
“Of course we’re proud to receive interest from a club like Manchester United for one of our players, but Bologna’s wish now is to keep our current team and strengthen it in order to have an important season.
“It is not a question of money. Marko is priceless for us. He represents a gamble that we all won, we went to pick him up in China when everybody forgot about him.
“He’s too important for us, we want him to keep on helping us reach that next level and grow our youngsters leading by example.”
He said: “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.
“We have two strikers, maybe a third one, with 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.”
Also on Sunday, former United right-back Gary Neville did not wish to discuss the prospect of the club signing Arnautovic.
“I don’t know… I’ve no comment on it,” he told Sky Sports before bursting into laughter.
“I’ve got a comment on everything in the world – apart from Manchester United signing Marko Arnautovic! I’ve got nothing to say.”
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