West Ham expect to receive a new bid from Shanghai SIPG in the next week, and have told the Chinese Super League club they will not consider selling the player unless it matches their £40million asking price.
Football FanCast sources have confirmed that the Hammers are open to the prospect of selling Arnautovic in January, after it became apparent that the striker is willing to push for the move.
Arnautovic was the subject of an opening bid from Shanghai last week, but it has become clear that the offer amounted to €35m, which equates to a total of £31m.
West Ham subsequently rejected the offer out of hand, insistent that they would not consider selling one of their prized assets for such a low fee.
The bid, at the time, was viewed as “derisory”, particularly as it valued Arnautovic as worth less than Felipe Anderson, who joined the Irons in the summer for £36m.
Arnautovic’s brother and agent subsequently publicly requested that the Irons allow his client to make the move.
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A strategy meeting has been held, featuring the club’s higher-ups, and sources have confirmed that a stance has been adopted where Arnautovic will be allowed to leave provided the club’s valuation is met.
West Ham have placed an asking price of €45m on the Austria international, or £40m in sterling.
Stoke City are due 20% of any profit West Ham receive from this deal, having sold the player to the Irons for £20m in 2017.
A deal worth £40m would see the Championship club bank £4m, with West Ham making a total of £20m in profit. Thus, the Hammers will only receive £36m.
Though West Ham are loathe to again see one of their best players leave the club in January, after Dimitri Payet forced a move to Marseille in January of 2017, there is an acceptance that Arnautovic has politicked his way out of the club.
Michail Antonio said on Goals on Sunday, on Sky, that “everyone knows Marko wants to go”.
And the club have now been forced to bend to the striker’s will, as they do not wish to keep an unhappy player.
The Irons expect to receive a second bid from Shanghai later this week and it will be accepted, provided the Hammers’ valuation is met.
It remains to be seen what will happen if it isn’t; the club are making preparations for Arnautovic to leave by scouting potential replacements, but there is a small chance that he could stay on until the summer if the Shanghai club refuse to play ball.
However, the Chinese Super League outfit are keen to make the move happen, and there is a feeling in east London that they are desperate to extricate Arnautovic from the London Stadium as quickly as possible.