West Ham set to force Arnautovic to stay after hitting replacement brick wall

West Ham are set to tell Marko Arnautovic that he will not be sold this month, despite interest from Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG.

The Austria international has already been the subject of a bid from the CSL outfit, worth £31million, and, while the club expect a second offer, they are now understood to have resolved to keep Arnautovic.

What’s the word?

This represents a U-turn from the Hammers.

The club had placed a £40m asking price on Arnautovic, but sources have confirmed that talks with potential replacements have hit a brick wall.

West Ham had hoped to sign a striker this month, and Callum Wilson was near the top of their shortlist.

Exploratory talks with Bournemouth have bore little fruit, however, as the Cherries are keen to receive over £50m for their star striker.

There remains an acceptance that they could be forced to sell Arnautovic if a massive Chinese bid is tabled.

But Manuel Pellegrini has informed the club’s board that he would prefer to retain the Austrian rather than sell and see the club forced to pay through the nose for a replacement.

There is also a feeling at the club that they should not be held to ransom by a player actively seeking an exit.

Twists and turns

West Ham would prefer this to be the end of the matter.

However, it remains to be seen what will happen if Shanghai SIPG table a significantly higher bid before the end of the transfer window.

Nevertheless, the Irons are confident that they can keep Arnautovic at the club, even if another offer is tabled.

As the transfer window ticks on, there is an acceptance that there is little chance of purchasing an experienced Premier League player from another English club.

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Wilson, in particular, is currently seen as prohibitively expensive; even Chelsea were spooked by the club’s initial demand of £75m, per The Sun.

Sources have confirmed that Arnautovic’s situation will be reviewed in the summer, provided there are no more twists in a story that is threatening to become a saga.