Marko Arnautovic wants to leave West Ham United and move to China, according to the player’s agent.
Arnautovic joined the Hammers in 2017 and has become one of the club’s key players over the past 18 months.
Will Arnautovic leave West Ham? Five key things to know…
- Arnautovic joined West Ham in July 2017, signing from Stoke City for £20m.
- The Austrian has become one of the club’s most important players under Manuel Pellegrini.
- His performances have seen him linked with a move away, with an unnamed Chinese club reportedly making a £35m bid recently.
- And, according to his agent, Arnautovic wants to leave West Ham for China – though the club have since insisted he will not be sold.
- Marko Arnautovic has averaged a goal every 2.7 games for West Ham since joining, his best goal return for a single club.
As a result, the Austrian has been constantly linked with a move away from the London Stadium with the likes of Manchester United reportedly interested.
But the latest turn of events have seen an unnamed Chinese club reportedly put in a bid worth £35m for Arnautovic, which West Ham have rejected.
And, according to Arnautovic’s brother and agent Danijel, the Austrian forward is eager to leave the Hammers for China.
In a statement released to talkSPORT, Danijel Arnautovic said: “West Ham bought Marko for peanuts,” the statement read. “They paid £20million for him, which is nothing in the current market.
Marko Arnautović for West Ham in the Premier League since the start of last season:
• Most goals (18)
• Most assists (8)
• Most chances created (57)
Easy to see why they want to keep him. 🙅♂️ https://t.co/ax7nXszQEK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 10, 2019
“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.”
Despite Marko Arnautovic’s apparent desire to leave London for China, the forward’s agent went on to reassure West Ham fans that he is still fully focussed to the club and their Premier League efforts, and will be until he does leave.
“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,” he added.
“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.
“Until he is no longer a West Ham player, he will give everything to the club. He hopes the fans can respect his wishes.”
Arnautovic has scored 19 goals in 52 games since joining West Ham in July 2017, only seven fewer than he managed in 145 matches for Stoke City – the most he has scored for a single club.
West Ham: Arnautovic not for sale
Shortly after the statement was released by talkSPORT, West Ham gave a brief reply of their own, saying: “Marko Arnautovic has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale.”
In response to the statement from the brother and agent of Marko Arnautovic this afternoon, the Club has issued the following: pic.twitter.com/6A2p3glFhg
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 10, 2019
Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrin has also had his say on the future of Arnautovic, with the Chilean insisting the club understand the reported interest but want to keep the Austrian.
“They are rumours,” Pellegrini said.
“We know Marko is a very good player so maybe a lot of clubs will want him to play for their team, but at the moment he is a West Ham player and we want to keep him.”
Pellegrini was giving his thoughts to the media ahead of the Hammers’ Premier League clash with Arsenal this weekend, and added his believes Arnautovic will remain focused on the task at hand.
He added: “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.
“I am sure his head will be in the game against Arsenal and it will not affect his performance.”