It’s clear that Manchester United needs to make some signings before the transfer window closes. But are these the players a club already in turmoil needs?
On Monday, two players with a checkered past were widely linked with a move to Old Trafford: Marko Arnautović and Adrien Rabiot.
Could United use the pair on the field? Sure.
Erik ten Hag’s first game as head coach did not go as planned, with Brighton upsetting United 2-1 at Old Trafford. Arnautović, though now 33 years old, scored 14 times in Serie A for Bologna last season. And as United fans and pundits continue to bemoan the “McFred” midfield pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred, Juventus midfielder Rabiot would be a welcome jolt of quality.
Arnautović and Rabiot controversies
There may be a reason both Arnautović and Rabiot appear to be available at this late stage of the transfer window. In addition to abundant talent, both bring along controversial pasts.
Rabiot has been banned from playing for both France and PSG in the past. The midfielder was called in to France’s 2018 World Cup squad on standby, and refused the call. It would be more than two years before he played for his country again.
Meanwhile, PSG told Rabiot his services were not required for the second half of the 2018-19 season after he was pictured at a nightclub hours after a Champions League defeat by Manchester United, which was followed by him liking a tweet from Patrice Evra which celebrated PSG’s defeat.
Arnautović, meanwhile, has an equally controversial background. He was suspended from last summer’s European Championship for an allegedly racist goal celebration. It was not the first time he’s been accused of racism.
He’s clashed with several managers, though Ten Hag may think he has the ability to get the best of the striker having previously worked with him during their time together at FC Twente.
But Ten Hag will be wary of adding one, or both of Arnautović and Rabiot into a dressing room that already is dealing with the continuing saga of Cristiano Ronaldo’s future.
United faces a tricky away match at Brentford next, followed by a home game against Liverpool a week later. Facing the real possibility of being on one, or even zero points after three weeks, United may now feel forced to look for help in any place they can get it.