West Ham United are officially out of the running for Marko Arnautovic.
That’s after a move to Bologna edged closer to completion today.
At the end of last season West Ham boss David Moyes publicly admitted he could look to bring Arnautovic back to West Ham 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.
Moyes went public over potential Arnautovic return
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.
Many felt he did that with a couple of strong showings, particularly against Italy.
But it appears Moyes has either snubbed the chance to bring Arnie back to West Ham or the Hammers have missed out on yet another target.
‘I won’t be back’ as Arnie return hopes are terminated
Reports from Football Italia and Gazetta dello Sport claim Arnautovic is nearing an agreement to terminate his lucrative contract with Chinese club Shanghai SIPG and sign for the Serie A side Bologna.
That will come as something of a slap in the face for West Ham who handed Arnautovic a big pay increase to keep him at the London Stadium only for the forward to demand a move to China just a few months later.
Fiery forward who left Hammers for pay day set to take major salary cut with Serie A move close to completion
“The 32-year-old centre-forward has always been first choice for coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and made it clear he wanted the move too several months ago. The problem was the contract with Shanghai SIPG, which ran to December 2022.
“It was reported that he could terminate the deal by mutual consent fairly easily, but it proved more difficult to extricate him from the agreement. Bologna have finally reached an agreement to pay Shanghai Port circa €3m (£1.7m) to release Arnautovic.
“The player is also reportedly prepared to take a pay cut by spreading the wages over an extended contract to June 2023.”
The news will be welcomed by some West Ham fans who did not want Arnautovic back at the club given his acrimonious departure.
Others felt he would be a useful addition to a squad sorely lacking up front especially given his excellent relationship with Moyes – the man who converted him from an inconsistent winger to an all action striker.
In other West Ham news, Hammers legend believes there is more than meets the eye to Declan Rice situation.