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If speculation is to be believed West Ham United could be left with just Andy Carroll up front come the end of the month.

Star man Marko Arnautovic has been heavily linked with a big money move to China.

Arnautovic’s agent and brother Danijel told talkSPORT that the West Ham talisman has made his mind up and wants to leave.

The Hammers have taken a hardline stance and issued a short statement insisting their talisman is not for sale.

It comes after Arnautovic was the subject of a £35million bid from a Chinese club – believed to be Shanghai SIPG (Sky Sports).

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Striker light?

Many fans and pundits believe money is the true motivation for Arnautovic’s desire to leave.

Javier Hernandez is being linked with a move to Valencia (The Independent) and even Barcelona (The Sun).

And Lucas Perez is also being linked with a move to La Liga with Real Betis.

That has left supporters questioning who will be left to score West Ham’s goals for the remainder of the season.

Carroll is injury prone and Manuel Pellegrini simply cannot afford to rely on him to stay fit as the only senior striker.

The speculation just does not seem to add up.

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Could Hernandez exit be key to keeping Arnie?

But could it be that West Ham are hatching a grand plan to try and keep Arnautovic at the club.

Hernandez is West Ham’s highest paid player of all time on £140,000 per week while Perez reportedly picks up a cool £80,000 (Spotrac).

West Ham are believed to be close to their wage ceiling to meet Financial Fair Play regulations.

Shedding those two players would free up £220,000 per week.

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More money, more problems?

That would enable West Ham to double Arnautovic’s £100,000 per week wages. And it would even leave room on the wage bill to bring in at least one, if not two, more players should Pellegrini want to.

Of course paying Arnautovic such a huge salary would present its own problems and potentially open a can of worms.

It promises to be a busy and interesting month in East London.

Hammers fans must trust Pellegrini to get things right.

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