As per a report from Sky Sports News this afternoon, West Ham will move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson, in the case that Marko Arnautovic departs for China.
West Ham standout
29-year-old attacker Arnautovic has been on West Ham’s books since the summer of 2017, after the Hammers agreed to splash out a fee which could eventually rise to £25 million to secure his signature from Stoke City.
And the Austrian international’s signing has since proven a superb piece of business on the part of the capital outfit.
After embarking on a scintillating run of form over the second-half of last season, during which he racked up 11 goals and 6 assists across West Ham’s final 20 Premier League outings, Arnautovic has since carried his impressive form into the current campaign.
The former Werder Bremen man’s power, direct nature and eye for goal have seen him establish himself as the Irons’ most-important player, with Arnie’s conversion from a winger to a centre-forward at the London Stadium having proven something of a master stroke.
‘He wants to go’
However, despite his crucial status in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad, ‘Arnie’ has nevertheless been heavily-linked with a potential departure from West Ham over the last week.
Following rumours of a big-money offer for his signature from the Chinese Super League, the Austrian’s brother released a surprise statement, confirming that Arnautovic had in fact set his sights on a new challenge:
‘West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market. 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.’
In addition, Arnautovic’s Hammers’ teammate Michael Antonio since confirmed that ‘everyone knows’ that the 29-year-old is keen on a departure from the London Stadium this month:
It’s been quite tight-lipped. But everyone knows Marko wants to go. He’s massive for the club. I think he’s joint top goalscorer right now, so he’s a big player for us.
“It’s been quite tight-lipped, but everyone knows Marko wants to go.”
Michail Antonio told Goals on Sunday West Ham team-mate Marko Arnautovic wants to be allowed to move to China – but he doesn’t know how they will be able to replace him.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 13, 2019
As such, as per the aforementioned report from Sky Sports this afternoon, West Ham are already putting plans in place for life after their star attacker’s departure.
The Irons are said to be eyeing up a move for Bournemouth hitman Callum Wilson.
English international Wilson has been in superb form to this point in the season, having notched 9 goals and 5 assists across 20 Premier League appearances.
As such, West Ham will reportedly swoop for the Cherries’ standout in the case that Shanghai SIPG meet the club’s £50 million valuation of Arnautovic.
However, any transfer for Wilson, who has also been linked with Chelsea of late, would no doubt prove extremely difficult to pull off, with Eddie Howe having confirmed last week that he would not part with his side’s leading scorer ‘at any price’:
‘In my opinion, and it’s just my opinion, I wouldn’t sell at any price. But I’m the manager, trying to create the best team that I can.’
‘We desperately want to take the team forward. And to do that we have got to keep our best players.’