Jose Mourinho reportedly scouts Marko Arnautovic and two Russian internationals 1 year ago

Jose Mourinho reportedly scouts Marko Arnautovic and two Russian internationals

Jose Mourinho has a task on his hands if he's to close the gap on Manchester City next season

His Manchester United side finished as runners-up in 2017/18 and, although this represented their best Premier League campaign since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure five years ago, they ended up a whopping 19 points off their neighbours.

They're expected to spend big again this summer with a host of names already linked - some more seriously than others - to Old Trafford. The latest name to be mentioned, however, hasn't exactly excited many of the club's supporters...

On Wednesday afternoon, Sky Sports reported that West Ham's Marko Arnautovic was being eyed by Mourinho. Kaveh Solhekol tweeted that the London club had no plans to sell the Austrian, but (slightly confusingly) said in the same tweet that he would cost over £50m.

Reacting to the news, many United fans on Twitter appear to have convinced themselves that talk of a move for Arnautovic was merely a smokescreen for something else - something much bigger and much more expensive.

However, hours later, they were given reason to believe that talk of a move for the 29-year-old, who worked with Mourinho during his time as Inter Milan manager, was very much being considered.

The United manager was pictured in Innsbruck's Tivoli-Neu stadium, taking in Austria's friendly with World Cup hosts, Russia.

Arnautovic started the game but, according to Gianluca DiMarzio, wasn't the only player Mourinho was running the rule over. Russia's Aleksandr Golovin, who played against United for CSKA Moscow during the group stages of this season's Champions League, was also being assessed by Mourinho.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move away from the Russian capital and is expected to be watched by a number of teams during this summer's World Cup.

Golovin's international teammate, Fëdor Smolov, is also said to have been one of the players the United boss wanted to look at.

The 28-year-old striker plays his football for Krasnodar having previously played with Dynamo Moscow, Anzhi Makhachkala and Ural Yekaterinburg in his homeland. He also had a brief stint away from Russia, spent on loan in the Netherlands with Feyenoord.