According to Sky Sports, West Ham have agreed a fee of around 25million Euros with Chinese Club Shanghai SIPG for Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic. The report states that one insider states that the Hammers are ‘prepared to take a terrible deal’ to get rid of the forward this summer.
The news comes after the forward reportedly handed in a transfer request on Tuesday. The deal comes as little surprise, as the Hammers turned down a big-money bid from a Chinese club in the January transfer window. Arnautovic wanted to go then, but West Ham did not want to sell the star.
Keeping an unhappy Arnautovic would damage morale
In truth, the 30-year-old Austrian international is known for his temperamental behaviour. He reportedly asked to leave the Irons when an unnamed Chinese club lodged the last bid.
When the move failed his form seemed to dip and many suggested that the former Stoke star was sulking after his failed move to the far east. West Ham knew they could not afford to have the striker producing similar behaviour next season.
Everybody within the club know it is better to sell the forward for the dressing room than having him around unhappy. The Hammers hierarchy are said to be running out of patience with the mercurial star.
Short of forwards
The problem with selling Arnautovic would be that it will leave Manuel Pellegrini’s team with very limited forward options. In fact, the clubs only other senior striker is Mexican international Javier Hernandez. However, the club are also believed to be interested in selling the former Manchester United star. The player is also reportedly keen on a move away to secure regular first-team football.
The club sold Lucas Perez and Andy Carroll left the Hammers when his contract expires, so to say they are down to the bare bones when it comes to forwards would be an understatement.
Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez has been strongly linked with a move to the club from the east end. However, it now seems that Valencia will snap up the Uruguayan after agreeing a deal with Celta for the forward. The Irons will now likely to turn their attention elsewhere to sign a new striker. Unfortunately for the Hammers, prolific strikers are hard to find at the moment. If they are available, they usually come with a giant price tag, which could prove a problem for the Londoners.
Need to add a forward for a top-ten finish
The middle of the Premier League table last season was much of a muchness. In real terms, there was not much difference between Wolves in seventh and West Ham who eventually finished 11th. The Hammers narrowly missed out on a top ten finish. The bookmakers currently believe they will miss out on a top-ten finish next season too. To have any chance of achieving their objectives next season, they have to add a forward to their squad.
Losing Arnautovic is not a disaster, as long as they sign a replacement before the season starts in August. If they do not, then the Irons are likely to struggle for goals and fail to finish in the top half.
Are West Ham doing the right thing by selling Marko Arnautovic?