Between the Lines: Marko Arnautovic, West Ham and Champions League desires

Fixture In Focus banner Richard Lee

Marko Arnautovic is a vital cog in the West Ham system that the east London side must look to keep, but that could prove difficult as the Austrian-ace fancies his chances in the Champions League.

What’s he said?

Speaking to Austria’s Kurier, Arnautovic spoke about his desires to play Champions League football and said: “I’m 29, so that’s the best age.

“It’s clear that I want to compete with the best players. But in this affair, I totally trust my brother.”

His brother, meanwhile, is also his representative and is why West Ham could see their star striker leave.

Kurier quoted Danijel Arnautovic as saying: “He’s a big part of West Ham’s team but I think it’s possible to tease out more of him.

“For that to happen, he has to play for a top team. Marko is ready for the next step.

“A player like him should not play against relegation.

“It was already very, very close this last summer [for Arnautovic to leave].”

What does this mean?

Danijel Arnautovic’s comments should strike fear into any Irons fan as without Marko’s contribution the claret and blue club could be gripped into a relegation fight with early season struggles Fulham and Southampton.

It is beyond the 29-year-old’s five goals for Manuel Pellegrini that the Chilean has reason to be grateful as the 6 foot 4 centre-forward gives the Hammers a focal point and lifts the performances of his teammates.

In a season when Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson were signed at great expense, the former Stoke City man was the one to put the Irons on his back and guide the side through a rough start.

What next for West Ham?

In the summer, Manchester United chased the Austrian forward’s signature but to no avail as the London Stadium side had no intentions of letting their star striker leave.

Sky Sports News reported at the time that Pellegrini and the board valued Arnautovic at £50million and the 75-cap international has done little since to make that figure go down.

With three-and-a-half years still on his contract, a player revolt would likely be needed to poach Arnautovic away from east London without a sizeable figure large enough to lure a marquee signing of their own as an adequate replacement.

The issue with that would be West Ham have no forward’s on their roster that could step up to the challenge and cover before a new man comes in.