West Ham United chairman David Gold is in no doubt whatsoever that Marko Arnautovic will remain at the club until 2022, and has insisted repeatedly and forcefully that “footballers are loyal people who always see out the entirety of their contracts”.

The Hammers have received a bid of £35 million from a Chinese side believed to be Shanghai SIPG, but after deciding to reject that offer the subject is definitely now closed, Gold has explained.

The West Ham chief then proceeded to repeatedly and somewhat manically stress his delight that the whole issue was absolutely and definitely closed.

“That’s the last anyone will hear of Marko Arnautovic leaving for China,” Gold told FourFourTwo approximately 60 times while waiting for the striker to read his latest jaunty WhatsApp message.

“I predict with complete confidence that we’ll look back at the whole thing and laugh on the day of Marko’s testimonial in 2026 as he tearfully hangs his boots up and joins the coaching staff.

“Frankly, I’m shocked that these rumours got as far as they did given that we have a contract, and have you ever heard of a footballer breaking one? That’s laughable.”

China boy

As Gold strained to produce a series of throaty chuckles, assembled journalists asked him why Arnautovic had recently began learning Mandarin, purchased property in China and asked for his latest month’s wages to be paid in Yuan.

“I can see how that could be interpreted a certain way, but you’re so far off the mark,” Gold insisted.

“The thing is, you see, Marko has a keen interest in Chinese embroidery, so he’s heading there to see a Qing dynasty piece in a museum in Shanghai next week.

“It’s in the museum that’s inside Shanghai Stadium. You know the one, the Shanghai Museum of Ancient Embroidery and Football.

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“He’s not been able to book the return flight just yet – something to do with a system error affecting all airlines – but he’ll let us know when he’s headed back and he’ll send us a picture of him signing the guest book and posing with a scarf.

“His brother is going with him and apparently he’s also his travel agent, so I know he’s in safe hands.”

Gold concluded by apologising to journalists for having wasted their time on the story, and insisting that Dimitri Payet should be back any time now with that pint of milk.

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