West Ham United are likely to accept a reduced fee for Marko Arnautovic this summer, with sources telling Football FanCast that his behaviour across the last two transfer windows has decreased his value.
Arnautovic signed a new contract in January after a brief flirtation with a move to China.
It contains a £45m release clause and the Hammers, at the time, were hopeful that any transfer this summer would reach that value.
However, after a €22m (£19.7m) bid was tabled by an unnamed Chinese club, which Arnautovic asked the club to accept, there is an acceptance that his clause will not be triggered.
Indeed, sources have confirmed to FFC that, while West Ham rejected the initial bid, they expect Arnautovic to continue to push for a move, and further diminish his own stock.
FFC was told on Tuesday that the former Stoke City forward was “playing up again” after the first offer came in. He is regarded as something of a divisive figure within the club.
West Ham stood firm amid Arnautovic’s request that he be allowed to discuss a transfer but there is a growing feeling that this is becoming a re-run of the Dimitri Payet situation.
In 2017, the France international forced a move to Marseille for a £25m fee, even going on strike to ensure that the Irons accepted the Ligue 1 club’s offer.
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Arnautovic has yet to do that and, as it is, there is not an expectation that he will do so, but the Chinese club have made it clear that they do not value him at more than £20m.
There is a likelihood, then, that West Ham will have to make a quick decision over the attacker; sources believe he is more likely to leave than stay at this stage.
For that to happen, another bid will have to be tabled.
But Arnautovic has made it clear he is keen on the move; he would benefit immensely from the financial terms on offer in the Chinese Super League.
West Ham will have to replace him, of course, as they currently have two senior strikers: Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez.