Manchester United's defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday has seen Erik ten Hag demanding immediate action to sign a striker. The Red Devils are looking to make an "emergency" addition and are targeting 33-year-old Marko Arnautovic from Bologna Football Club.

The 20-time English champions' interest in the former West Ham United and Stoke City forward has left onlookers baffled. Ten Hag is reportedly a big admirer of the forward, and feels the Austrian can add much needed experience to the squad while being a genuine goal threat.

Arnautovic is keen on a move to Old Trafford after learning of United's interest, but the Serie A club has no intention of letting go of their number nine. The Austria international scored 15 goals for Bologna last season, and he is viewed as a key part of their project going forward.

"It's true that there is an offer from a well-known club," the striker's agent, Daniel Arnautovic told Austrian outlet Kurier. "I'm in contact with Bologna to see if that [offer] can be realised."

Marko Arnautovic
Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic left West Ham United for Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League AFP / STR

Bologna has already rejected the Premier League giants' opening offer of around £6.6 million and the Red Devils are expected to increase their offer in the coming days. The Serie A club's sporting director Marco De Vaio has labeled the Austrian "priceless" and vowed not to sell him this summer.

"It's not a question of money, he's priceless for what he means to us," De Vaio said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.

"We want to move forward with him because we are convinced that he can get better and help us grow. He is always the first in training to push the others, he has no market value."

Even Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlović feels the the former Stoke forward will stay after confirming that he has spoken to Arnautovic about United's proposal. However, the Serbian coach admitted that he will be happy for the veteran forward even if he chooses to join the Premier League giants.

Ten Hag was forced to start Christian Eriksen at number nine against Brighton owing to Anthony Martial's injury and Cristiano Ronaldo's lack of fitness. The Dutch coach is expected to push the club to complete the deal for Arnautovic with first-team assistant coach Steve McLaren also approving the move.

Erik Ten Hag
Erik ten Hag Lukas Schulze/UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images