Michail Antonio tells Goals on Sunday that Marko Arnautovic wants China move

Michail Antonio tells Goals on Sunday that Marko Arnautovic wants China move

The Hammers’ talisman looks set to depart the London Stadium this month

Michail Antonio has revealed that his team-mate, Marko Arnautovic, wants to leave West Ham for China this month.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday yesterday morning, Antonio said that he was unaware of how any potential transfer was developing at the London Stadium, but did confirm that the former Stoke man wants to depart East London for a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Arnautovic has been an instrumental part of West Ham’s squad since joining the club from the Potters for a club record fee of £25 million back in 2017. The Austrian has scored 19 goals in 53 appearances for the Hammers and is currently the club’s joint-top scorer this term with seven goals.

The 29-year-old featured for West Ham in their narrow win over Arsenal on Saturday, but appeared to wave what looked to be a farewell to the fans when he was substituted for Andy Carroll on the 71st minute.

Speaking to presenters Chris Kamara and Ben Shepherd, Antonio said:

“It’s been quite tight-lipped, but everyone knows Marko wants to go. He’s massive for the club, I think he’s joint top goalscorer right now, so he’s a big player for us.

“The fans love him, it’s just one of those things where in his life right now, he feels it’s another step for him and I think he’s going to one of the best clubs over there, where he might be able to win some trophies.

The 29-year-old joined West Ham from Stoke back in 2017 for a club record fee.

“He’s coming to the latter end of his career, maybe he just feels like before he retires he needs a new step, and this might be a step that he wants.”

With the Hammers heavily reliant on goals from their two wide men this season – Arnautovic and summer signing Felipe Anderson, replacing the Austrian with only half of January’s window still open would be hugely difficult for manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Antonio added: “That’s a difficult situation – we’ve got someone there with experience of playing who scores goals, right now who would we sign to replace him? That’s where the problem lies.”

Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson has been rumoured, however he would cost the club roughly £50 million and would probably be reluctant to leave the south coast for a club outside of the top four. Chelsea still remain favourites to sign the 26-year-old.

After seeing a reported bid of £38 million rejected by West Ham last week, Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG have significantly upped their bid to sign the attacker. According to the Times, Arnautovic will be subject to a new bid of around £45 million this week, which will ‘test the resolve of West Ham United to keep the striker.’