Reports across the English media this evening have confirmed that West Ham United attacker Marko Arnautovic is set for a move to the Chinese Super League.
West Ham enigma
30-year-old Austrian attacker Arnautovic has long-proven one of English football’s most polarizing figures.
Since making the move to West Ham from Stoke City in the summer of 2017, ‘Arnie’ has built up something of a love-hate relationship with the Hammers’ faithful.
Superb, intent-filled displays, during which the former Inter Milan man looks a genuine world-beater in London, have all too-often been quickly followed by the kind of performance which suggest that Arnautovic couldn’t care less about West Ham, or football in general for that matter.
And it was such infuriating inconsistencies which subsequently led to the versatile attacker being heavily-linked with a departure from the London Stadium in January.
Amid intense interest from the Chinese Super League, it looked, for all intents and purposes, as though West Ham were set to cut their losses on the enigmatic Austrian:
“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
In the end, however, Arnautovic surprisingly stayed put, before seemingly going on to put an end to the speculation surrounding his future by penning a new deal with the Irons late in January.
Arnautovic wants out
Fresh reports earlier this week, though, confirmed that the veteran had once again set his sights on a departure from London:
Marko Arnautovic has handed in transfer request to West Ham. Has offer from Chinese club. Can’t just be about getting a new contract this time because he got one in January
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) July 2, 2019
West Ham exit imminent
And, as per the aforementioned update this evening, Arnautovic looks set to have his wish granted imminently.
Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News has confirmed that West Ham have agreed to sell their unsettled attacker in a ‘terrible’ deal, with the Hammers seemingly desperate to offload Arnautovic as soon as possible:
Confirmed that West Ham have agreed to sell Arnautovic. Told “it’s a terrible deal for us but manager, players and staff want him out”
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) July 4, 2019
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone, meanwhile, has since provided further details, confirming that the fee involved is £22.4 million, with Arnautovic set to join Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG:
Marko Arnautovic close to leaving @WestHamUtd for £22.4m to join Shanghai SIPG. Club feel it is better to get rid than keep unhappy player.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) July 4, 2019