Marko Arnautovic wants to leave West Ham United for a big money move to China.
That’s according to his agent and brother Danijel who told talkSPORT the West Ham talisman has made his mind up.
West Ham have issued a short statement insisting Arnautovic 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
It comes after Arnautovic has the subject of a £35million bid from a Chinese club – believed to be Shanghai SIGP.
The reports and statement from Arnautovic’s agent has understandably angered West Ham fans.
Not that they haven’t been here before.
Payet all over again?
The similarities with the Dimitri Payet saga are striking.
It was this time two years ago the maverick Frenchman downed tools to force a move back to Marseille.
That left Hammers fans wounded.
This feels like groundhog day and their patience is wearing thin.
Arnautovic saga could stretch to end of February
But West Ham need to brace themselves for the Arnautovic situation to stretch way beyond the close of the January transfer window.
That’s because the Chinese Super League’s transfer window does not close until the end of February, a full month afterwards.
That means potentially six weeks of unhelpful speculation if West Ham stay true to their hardline stance.
For West Ham fans they will be hoping Arnautovic is still in the claret and blue come March 1st.
It leaves Manuel Pellegrini in the unenviable position of trying to keep team morale high to kick on in the second half of the campaign.
West Ham are over-reliant on Arnautovic
The truth is West Ham are over reliant on Arnautovic.
Injury-prone Andy Carroll is out of contract in the summer. Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez have both failed to establish themselves at West Ham and have been linked with moves away.
Arnautovic showed just how vital he is to West Ham with three goals in his last two games which secured a comeback draw against Brighton and set the Hammers on their way to a 2-0 FA Cup win over Birmingham.
West Ham take on Arsenal at the London Stadium on Saturday with Arnautovic expected to start up front.