West Ham United fans have been reacting to news that the club will participate in the Asia Trophy next pre-season.
West Ham are aiming to qualify for next season’s Europa League.
That would require Manuel Pellegrini’s side – currently ninth in the Premier League – to finish seventh AND one of the Manchester clubs to win the FA Cup.
There are undoubtedly plenty of twists and turns to come during the run-in.
But it appears the Hammers are making their preparations for pre-season behind-the-scenes already.
Hammers to take part in Asia Trophy 10 years on?
According to The Mirror West Ham will take part in the Asia Trophy this summer alongside Manchester City, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Pellegrini is fresh from a two year spell as boss of Hebei China Fortune.
It will be the second time the East Londoners have competed in the tournament.
West Ham competed alongside Tottenham, Hull and Beijing Guoan a decade ago back in 2009, finishing third in the four-team event.
This time around there is an added twist.
Killing two birds with one stone?
The Asia Trophy 2019 will be held in Shanghai.
That could have been where Hammers star Marko Arnautovic ended up in January but the club rejected a £35 million bid from Shangai SIPG (Telegraph).
That was the start of a month-long saga which saw Arnautovic state his desire to leave via his brother and agent. He then declared himself ‘not in the right frame of mind’ to play for West Ham.
And rather predictably ended up signing an improved contract.
West Ham fans react to reported pre-season plans
It damaged his relationship with the club’s supporters and he has barely featured since.
Now West Ham fans have put two and two together and are using the club’s summer plans to suggest the next course of action for the Austrian striker.
Here are a selection of the best tweets reacting to confirmation of the news by club insider ExWHUemployee.
So cute of Pellegrini to drop Arnautovic off
— Uber West Ham (@UberWestHam) March 4, 2019
Absolute scenes if we win a trophy in China before Arnautovic
— Cartlon Cole (@_CarltonCole9) March 4, 2019
Dropping off Arnie 🤷♀️🤷♀️🤷♀️⚒⚒⚒⚒
— Lena Starr 🇵🇱 Princess of Spades (@LenaStarrXXX) March 4, 2019
Think it’s a good move. Actually get us properly prepared for season rather than playing these lower leagues sides who nobody has heard of in other countries.
— Luke Pacey (@lukepacey1) March 4, 2019
Make sure Arnautovic doesn’t do a runner!
— George Farr (@gfarr92) March 5, 2019
West Ham are so sweet. They all making sure Arnie gets there safely 😋
— ⚒️ Jay ⚒️ (@Jay93944265) March 4, 2019
‘Hide your strikers’
7th is highly unlikely but if we make it and are in the Europa league then how would that work?
— Richard Knott (@RichardKnott2) March 4, 2019
Isn’t it some sort of obligation to the league to spread the brand name by taking part in these tournaments? I’m not sure Pellegrini can do much about it mate?
— Dan (@dedge84) March 5, 2019
At least Arnie can kill two birds with one stone
— Ricky Forrest (@rickwhufc) March 5, 2019
Hide yo strikers pic.twitter.com/Oao3ARfaC0
— Mississippi Hammer (@mshammers) March 5, 2019
We will leave marko there money in bank end of marko at westham United football club he thought he was bigger than the club good bye hernandez is the main man now
— Sparkle_c Essex (@SparklecEssex1) March 4, 2019