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West Ham striker - will he stay or will he go?

PUBLISHED: 12:37 15 November 2018

West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic reacts during the Premier League match at the John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield.

West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic reacts during the Premier League match at the John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield.

PA Wire/PA Images

Marko Arnautovic’s future comes into doubt with Hammers, but is it just a smokescreen?

West Ham United's Marko ArnautovicWest Ham United's Marko Arnautovic

Will he stay or will he go? Does he want to play Champions League football or is it all just a smokescreen to get a new and improved deal at West Ham?

These are the questions that confront us when it comes to Hammers striker Marko Arnautovic.

At the beginning of the week we heard from Marko’s brother and agent Daniel, who told an Austrian online newspaper that Marko was ‘ready to take a step forward in his career’.

The international striker was linked with a move to Manchester United in the summer as manager Jose Mourinho watched him play for Austria.

Austria's Marko Arnautovic (right) and Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis battle for the ball during the UEFA Nations League match at the Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna.Austria's Marko Arnautovic (right) and Northern Ireland's Jamal Lewis battle for the ball during the UEFA Nations League match at the Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna.

They could certainly do with him now, but at the time no bid was made for him.

Now, however, Arnautovic’s brother is suggesting that a whole host of teams are interested.

“He is ready for the next step,” said Daniel. “It’s not like that he wants to leave, but we believe that the time has come that maybe Marko tries to win a trophy, maybe the Champions League.

His agent and brother has even suggested a destination for the 29-year-old, who has five goals to his name this season, but also plenty of assists along the way.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Solly March (left) and West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.Brighton and Hove Albion's Solly March (left) and West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

“Returning to Italy would be a good chance to prove that he wasn’t a bad signing,” he said. “He was only 19 when he joined Inter and he made friends there. He has very good memories of Milan.

“Many Premier League clubs are following him, like Chelsea and Everton, but they are not the only ones.”

All very interesting, but these are the words of an agent, with not the greatest reputation in the game, who would be making big money out of a deal.

What must be remembered is that Arnautovic was in no-mans land at Stoke City and that moving to West Ham, despite a rocky start, resurrected his career and turned him into one of the top strikers in the Premier League.

West Ham United manager David MoyesWest Ham United manager David Moyes

The no-nonsense attitude of David Moyes seems to have turned the player around from his bad attitude that had existed at Inter, when he was a team-mate of Mario Balotelli.

All that suddenly disappeared under Moyes and his stricter regime and he turned from sulky bad boy to Hammer of the Year in just a few months.

He has become a crowd favourite and an integral part of Manuel Pellegrini’s team and so it is no surprise that other teams may be interested in him.

But there may be an underlying story to all this to consider.

West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic during the Premier League match at London StadiumWest Ham United's Marko Arnautovic during the Premier League match at London Stadium

Former Manchester City star Samir Nasri, currently on a doping ban, has been linked with a move to the club worth a potential £80,000 a week. Already, the likes of Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko receive £100,000 or more a week.

Arnautovic, who is West Ham’s most vital player, receives a lot less than that.

Perhaps this is merely a bid to get more money out of West Ham and on the face of it; he is worth every single penny.

Whether this is the right way to go about it is debatable, but West Ham must realise what an important player the Austrian is and pay him accordingly.

So much big money, but how must Declan Rice be feeling in all this as his contract dispute rambles on?

Football is a crazy world.

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