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A look at Man Utd’s penchant for experienced strikers amid Marko Arnautovic link

Henrik Larsson, Radamel Falcao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among the veteran strikers Man Utd have signed in recent years (PA)
Henrik Larsson, Radamel Falcao and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among the veteran strikers Man Utd have signed in recent years (PA)

Marko Arnautovic is the latest aging forward to be linked with a move to Manchester United.

It has become a pattern at Old Trafford in recent years for United to boost their firepower with the short-term signing of an experienced striker.

The 33-year-old former West Ham and Stoke forward Arnautovic, currently with Bologna, has been attracting surprise attention from the Red Devils, according to reports in Italy.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of United’s other signings.

Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson (right) was an instant hero at United
Henrik Larsson (right) was an instant hero at United (Martin Rickett/PA)

The signing that kicked off the trend saw Celtic hero Larsson recruited on a three-month loan from Helsingborg in 2007 at the age of 35. The veteran Swede played just 13 games for United but was a huge fan favourite and had a big impact on the team.

Michael Owen

Sir Alex Ferguson (right) signed Michael Owen in 2009
Sir Alex Ferguson (right) signed Michael Owen in 2009 (Dave Thompson/PA)

Owen was only 29 when he signed for United in the summer of 2009 but he was seen as an injury-prone player who was past his best. The former England striker stayed at Old Trafford for three years and scored a famous injury-time winner in a 4-3 success against Manchester City in September 2009.

Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao spent a disappointing season at Old Trafford
Radamel Falcao spent a disappointing season at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Colombian had established himself as one of the top forwards in the world at Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco. He joined United on a one-year loan from the latter in 2014 but this was a signing that did not work out, with Falcao criticised for his fitness and performances.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's impact was reduced by a knee injury
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s impact was reduced by a knee injury (Martin Rickett/PA)

Following in his fellow Swede Larsson’s footsteps, Ibrahimovic joined United on a free transfer aged 34 in 2016. Like Larsson, the charismatic Ibrahimovic quickly became a fan favourite, scoring 28 goals in his first season, although a serious knee injury limited his impact thereafter.

Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo was one of United's most surprising signings
Odion Ighalo was one of United’s most surprising signings (Martin Rickett/PA)

One of United’s most surprising transfer moves came with the recruitment of former Watford striker Ighalo on loan from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in 2020. The Nigerian scored four goals prior to the suspension of football due to the Covid-19 pandemic. United extended his deal until the following January.

Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani had a positive first season at Old Trafford
Edinson Cavani had a positive first season at Old Trafford (Phil Noble/PA)

Veteran Uruguayan Cavani fitted the bill perfectly as United’s next recruit in the summer of 2020. The 33-year-old former Napoli and Paris St Germain star scored 17 goals in his first season but increasingly found himself on the bench, starting only a handful of games, and he left the club at the end of last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese star returned to the club he joined as a teenager last summer at the age of 36. Ronaldo again proved himself a reliable goalscorer with 24 across the season but that did not translate to success for the team and his impact on the rest of the players has been questioned.