LONDON: West Ham insist star forward Marko Arnautovic is not for sale despite interest from the Chinese Super League in the Austrian.
Arnautovic was the subject of a reported £35 million ($44 million) offer from an unnamed Chinese club this week.
The player’s agent and brother Danijel Arnautovic told talkSPORT on Thursday it is his client’s “great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China”.
However, the Premier League side are in no mood to lose the 29-year-old, who is the club’s joint top-scorer with eight goals this season.
“Marko Arnautovic has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale,” West Ham said in a statement.
Shanghai SIPG are the side said to be interested and have reportedly offered a wage packet of £200,000 per week over a four-year deal.
Arnautovic joined the Hammers from Stoke in a £20 million deal in the summer of 2017 and won the club’s player of the year award after scoring 11 goals in his debut season.
“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,” added Danijel Arnautovic.
“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.”
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini had earlier stated his wish and belief Arnautovic will stay for the rest of the season.
“Those are all rumours. 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,” Pellegrini told reporters on Thursday.
“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.”
West Ham host Arsenal on Saturday and Pellegrini has no qualms about playing Arnautovic despite the speculation.
“Marko and all the other players involved in rumours have their heads here,” he said.
“They want to continue playing the way they have been so far and I am sure that he will have his head in the game against Arsenal.” —AFP