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West Ham United v Birmingham City - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images

In what has been a strange 24 hours for West Ham, with Reece Oxford parting ways with his controversial agent, and the rumoured returns of both Ryan Fredericks and Fabian Balbuena both being delayed, (the latter for having an operation pushing his recovery back between 6-8 weeks according to ExWHUEmployee) every single West Ham fan’s worst nighmare looks as if it took a serious step towards becoming a reality... Marko Arnautovic apparently wants to leave the club.

Speaking to talkSPORT earlier yesterday, Arnautovic’s brother and agent seemed to confirm the rumour that an ‘unnamed Chinese club’ have put in a £35m bid for the Austrian talisman, saying;

“West Ham have recieved a fantastic offer. It is close to double what they paid for him.”

He went on to say that Marko wants to move on to another league in order to have the chance to finish his career with some silverware, his only previous accolades being champions of Serie A and Champions League despite only making three appearances on loan under Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan side in 2009/10.

“He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants. It’s his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China”

West Ham however, posted a Twitter statement in response to Danijel Arnautovic’s bold claim Thursday afternoon. The statement read:

“Marko Arnautovic has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale.”

So, what does this mean?

Well it could be looked at one of two ways. Perhaps alarmingly, the club said something almost identical to that when Dimitri Payet announced his departure from the East London club. As well as this, many fans noticed Marko Arnautovic seem to throw a tantrum after being hauled off around the 20th minute mark during West Ham’s FA Cup clash with Birmingham. And would his agent really go to a national broadcasting outlet and say all this without the player or club knowing about this? ExWHUEmployee certainly seems to think that there’s substance to this too.

On the flip side, you could say that the Birminham incident is a good thing, showing that he if anything wants to play more for West Ham. It has to be said, with all the badge kissing and crossed-hammer celebrations during his 18 month West Ham career, he certainly hasn’t performed like a player with a “great desire” to leave the club. It is also worth noting that the rumours linking “Arnie” to a move away last summer were used by the player’s agent in order to get a new deal. (However, Arnautovic was very quick to dispel these rumours via Instagram) This could easily be the same case this time, with Arnautovic apparently showing discontent with earning less than fellow strikers Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez, despite being widely believed to be the Hammers’ biggest attacking threat alongside £40m summer acquisition Felipe Anderson.

Fulham FC v West Ham United - Premier League
West Ham strikers Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez both earn more than Marko Arnautovic, despite both struggling for first-team football amid injuries.
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

In an interview with Sky Sports this lunchtime, West Ham manager Manuel Pellgrini seemed hesitant to rule out the possibility of selling him, saying;

“I want to keep him but you never know what will happen in the future.”

Ex-West Ham star Dean Ashton took a very dim view at the possibility of Arnautovic leaving. Speaking to TalkSPORT on yesterday’s Alan Brazil show, saying it would be the “biggest cop-out” if Arnautovic were to leave West Ham.

“I think it will be the biggest cop-out for a player like him [Arnautovic]. It’s the best football we have seen him play in this country”

Ashton, who scored 19 goals in 56 appearances for West Ham during his 5 year stay, also said selling Marko Arnautovic would be “crazy”, and said that a move away would show his apparent love for the club to be just “a show” and that leaving would be a “cop-out” for ego and money.

So Hammers, what do you think? Is this just rubbish used in order to get a new deal from West Ham? Or does the Austrian really feel like his future lies elsewhere? Is the truth somewhere in the middle? Or is this a set-up for a departure in the summer?

As the old saying goes, there’s no smoke without fire.

Poll

Will Marko Arnautovic leave West Ham this January?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Yep! He’s gone.
    (44 votes)
  • 45%
    Not a chance!
    (36 votes)
80 votes total Vote Now