Over the course of the summer, it was reported, quite insistently, that Manchester United were, at one point, interested in Marko Arnautovic.

With many stories claiming that Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave the Old Trafford side and would do so before the end of the transfer window, Erik ten Hag and his staff went about finding a replacement, with the Austrian seemingly standing out.

The Dutchman already knew the striker, having worked with him in the past, but Manchester United fans ignored that, making their feelings about the potential move clear, which ultimately forced the Premier League side to back down.

Ronaldo eventually stayed, but not before the Red Devils made an offer to the Austria international and to Bologna.

The Serie A side turned down their attempts, and while Arnautovic might have been tempted, he also saw his current club were prepared to do almost anything to keep him around.

That’s what Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting on Thursday, recalling the ‘real and concrete’ interest from Manchester United in the player.

The Italians ‘repeated and reiterated’ they would not sell their star, and they managed the feat ‘with the extra and definitive step’ of giving him a wage increase, ‘equalling the offer of the team coached by Ten Hag’ of €3m/year net.

They didn’t extend his contract, they just agreed to give him more money by matching what Manchester United were ready to give him.

It worked, and the Premier League team never got their man, partly due to the fans but also due to Bologna’s reluctance to sell.