Wantaway West Ham United star Marko Arnautovic was all smiles in training ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Wimbledon.
Manuel Pellegrini put his Hammers squad through their paces in freezing conditions at the club’s Rush Green training base.
And all eyes were on whether Arnautovic would be involved and indeed what his attitude was like.
The Austrian has been the subject of intense transfer speculation after being linked with a move to China.
But West Ham are refusing to accept a penny less than £50million and Sky Sports claims any move is off, for now at least.
Arnie training and all smiles too
Arnautovic was deemed not to be in a ‘fit state of mind’ to play in the 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth last time out.
That prompted a backlash from fans and pundits such as Paul Merson and Jamie Redknapp who said West Ham should refuse to pay their star man last week’s wages as a result.
Whether he has had a change of heart or is simply acting professionally Arnautovic was not only training with his teammates on Thursday but all smiles too.
These images show the squad in training at Rush Green and Arnautovic looked in fine form. The moody star even cracking sharing a joke with teammates.
Pellegrini to decide over Arnautovic on Friday
Speaking in his pre-match press conference Pellegrini said Arnautovic was ‘fine’. But he stopped short of saying whether he would face Wimbledon, insisting the side would not be selected until Friday.
The Hammers had never faced AFC Wimbledon before this season.
But like London buses two come along at once. Saturday’s game will be the second time the clubs have met in cup competitions this season.
West Ham ran out 3-1 winners in the Carabao Cup back in August. West Ham owed much of that to an early red card for the hosts who took the lead and more than held their own until a late Hammers rally.
Hammers could make seven changes
There is the added spice of former Hammers coach Wally Downes being appointed Wimbledon boss.
Like the Carabao Cup game, the FA Cup tie against the League One side has been chosen for television again.
That is for one reason and one reason only, BT are hoping for an upset.
Pellegrini could make as many as SEVEN changes to his side for what is West Ham’s only realistic chance of ending their 40-year trophy drought – read more here.