Arnautovic asks West Ham to let him move to China, but Hammers insist he is 'not for sale'

Ed Aarons
The Guardian
<span>Marko Arnautovic has contract with West Ham until 2022. </span> <span>Photograph: Michael Zemanek/BPI/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Marko Arnautovic has contract with West Ham until 2022. Photograph: Michael Zemanek/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

Marko Arnautovic wants West Ham to accept the £35m bid from an unnamed Chinese club to allow him to “challenge for titles” but has been told he is not for sale.

The Austria forward moved to east London in July 2017 for £24m and is West Ham’s joint-top scorer this season with eight goals in all competitions.

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Manager Manuel Pellegrini dismissed suggestions that the 29-year-old could leave the club this month in his press conference on Thursday but having admitted in November that he would like to test himself in the Champions League, Arnautovic’s brother Danijel, who also acts as his agent, has released a statement to talkSPORT in which asks for them to allow him to move to the Chinese Super League.

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“West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market,” read the statement.

“They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. He took every award at the club; best player, signing of the season and the players’ award.

“Now West Ham have a fantastic offer. It is close to double what they paid for him. He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants. It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.”

Marko Arnautovic has told West Ham United he wants to move to China this month – with the club immediately responding by issuing a statement that the striker “is not for sale”.
Marko Arnautovic has told West Ham United he wants to move to China this month – with the club immediately responding by issuing a statement that the striker “is not for sale”.

Reports have stated that the offer – which it understood would see Arnautovic earn approximately £40m over his four-year contract, a vast upgrade on his current wage of £90,000 a week – is from reigning champions Shanghai SiPG, although their permitted allocation of three overseas players is currently filled by former Chelsea midfielder Oscar and fellow Brazilians Hulk and Elkeson.

Pellegrini underlined his determination to keep Arnautovic ahead of their meeting with Arsenal on Saturday, with West Ham later issuing a statement which read: “Marko has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale.”

It is understood that West Ham are aware of Arnautovic’s desire to leave but will not consider selling him this month given the difficulties they may face in finding a replacement. Stoke are also believed to have a sell-on clause that would entitle them to 20% of any future transfer fee, with his contract due to expire in 2022.

“Those are all rumours,” said Pellegrini. “We know that we have a very good player in Marko, a lot of clubs may want him to play for them. At the moment we have no news about him.

“I don’t want to talk about things that might happen. Marko in this moment is a player of our team, players of his quality and other players like Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson, other clubs will want them but that is one thing. I don’t think they will go. I want to keep him, of course, but you never know what might happen in the future.”

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