West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he wants to keep Marko Arnautovic amid reports of a bid from a Chinese Super League team.
Arnautovic was the subject of a reported £35 million ($44 million) offer from an unnamed Chinese club this week.
It was suggested that Shanghai SIPG are the side interested in the Austrian striker, who was said to have been offered wages of £200,000 per week over a four-year deal. But Arnautovic is West Ham’s joint-top scorer this season with eight goals in all competitions and Pellegrini is keen to hold on to the 29-year-old.
“Those are all rumours. We know that we have a very good player in Marko, a lot of clubs may want him to play for them. At the moment we have no news about him,” Pellegrini told reporters on Thursday.
“I don’t want to talk about things that might happen. Marko in this moment is a player of our team.
“Players of his quality and other players like Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson, other clubs will want them but that is one thing. I don’t think they will go.”
Arnautovic, who was signed from Stoke in 2017, had already been linked with Manchester United last year and recently said he could be tempted to join a club in the Champions League. He could also use the interest from China to convince West Ham to hand him an improved contract during the January transfer window.
Hammers boss Pellegrini admitted he could not predict whether his Premier League side would be able to convince Arnautovic to stay for the long-term.
“I want to keep him, of course, but you never know what might happen in the future,” he said.
West Ham host Arsenal on Saturday and Pellegrini has no qualms about picking Arnautovic despite the speculation.
“Marko and all the other players involved in rumours have their heads here. They want to continue playing the way they have been so far and I am sure that he will have his head in the game against Arsenal.”
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)