West Ham transfer news: Marko Arnautovic tells club to accept China offer in pursuit of 'new challenge'
Danijel Arnautovic, the West Ham player’s brother and agent, believes the Premier League club have been presented with a ‘fantastic offer’ by an unnamed Chinese side and says the 29-year-old wants to leave.
In a statement, Danijel said: “It is his (Arnautovic’s) great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.” However, determined to keep their talisman, a West Ham United spokesperson said: “Marko has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale.”
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Arnautovic, who is contracted at West Ham until 2022, is is only halfway through his second season at the club, but he, according to his agent, feels it is time to move on. “West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market,” read a statement from Danijel to talkSPORT.
“They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. He took every award at the club; best player, signing of the season and the players’ award.
“Now West Ham have a fantastic offer. It is close to double what they paid for him.
“He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants.
“It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.
“He knows the West Ham fans love him and he has a special connection with them, but things move on, this is the world of sport, and he hopes they can understand.”
The statement continued to add that Arnautovic will remain professional with his approach at West Ham, starting with the home match against Arsenal on Saturday, and asks supporters to try and understand his decision.
“Marko is professional and is preparing himself for the Arsenal game. He will give 100 per cent for West Ham. That is Marko. He will never change,” Danijel continued.
“Until he is no longer a West Ham player, he will give everything to the club. He hopes the fans can respect his wishes.”
Hours before the statement was made public, Pellegrini told reporters that a bid from China for Arnautovic was just a ‘rumour’ and that he believes West Ham’s talisman will stay at the club.
“Those are all rumours. We know that we have a very good player in Marko, a lot of clubs may want him to play for them,” he said. “At the moment we have no news about him.”
“I think Marko and all the other players involved in rumours have their heads here and want to continue playing the way they are doing so far. He will have his head in the right place for the game against Arsenal,” Pellegrini said in his pre-match press conference.
“I don’t want to talk about things that might happen. Marko in this moment is a player of our team, players of his quality and other players like Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson, other clubs will want them but that is one thing. I don’t think they will go.”
West Ham will be aware of the reaction to selling one of their best players given the response to Dimitri Payet’s departure in 2016, but are determined to keep Marko Arnautovic.
With Javier Hernandez a transfer target for Valencia, who have prematurely ended Michy Batshuayi’s loan, and Andy Carroll’s contract expiring, the club are not in a position to lose even more attacking players.