David Moyes has admitted he could be forced to bring Mark Arnautovic back to West Ham United this summer.
Arnautovic has been heavily linked with a return to West Ham in every window since his departure.
The Austrian was a revelation when Moyes converted him to a striker in his first spell at West Ham.
But he left the Hammers on a sour note, demanding a big money move to China just months after signing a bumper new deal in east London.
Speculation rife again over potential Arnautovic West Ham return
His replacement Sebastien Haller was a £45million flop and Moyes is looking for a new forward this summer after shipping him off to Ajax for a £25m loss in January.
Speculation has been rife this week that Moyes may have very little money to work with in the next window.
That has angered supporters given the remarkable job the Scot has done with a squad sorely lacking in key areas.
David Sullivan and David Gold risk worsening relations with fans if they do not back the manager in the transfer market.
Moyes was asked about his reported interest in Arnautovic in Friday’s pre-match press conference ahead of Brighton.
Moyes admits he may be forced to bring back ageing Arnautovic if vision for a ‘new West Ham’ is not backed
And he admitted he could be forced to bring the 32-year-old back to the London Stadium if the financial backing is not there to support his vision for a ‘new West Ham’ (Claret and Hugh).
“I would never rule Marko out but I’m trying to move forward,” Moyes said in his pre-match press conference (Claret and Hugh).
“I’m trying to build towards a new team, a new West Ham. I’m trying not to go back if I can help it. It’s not to say that I would never go there, I would do of course. We might get a chance to see how Marko plays in the Euros. I hope I do because I really like him…
“Maybe Marko would like to come back. But he’s on a lot of money in China so I’m not sure we’d be able to afford that.”
Controversial return would divide fans and not just because of how Arnie left the club
West Ham have been linked with a host of younger strikers more in keeping with Moyes’s recruitment policy.
They include Ivan Toney, Tammy Abraham, Youssef En-Nesyri, Adam Armstrong and Abdallah Sima.
Arnautovic returning to West Ham would divide supporters.
Not only because of how he left the club. But the fact he turns 33 next season. And West Ham fans want to see Moyes being backed to build the young, hungry side he has so often spoken about as his vision moving forward.