January 10, 2019 / 3:44 PM / in 6 days

Soccer: West Ham say they expect Arnautovic to honour contract

(Reuters) - West Ham United say striker Marko Arnautovic is not for sale after the Austrian’s brother said he wanted to sign for a Chinese Super League club that have reportedly tabled a 35 million pound bid.

Soccer Football - FA Cup Third Round - West Ham United v Birmingham City - London Stadium, London, Britain - January 5, 2019 West Ham's Marko Arnautovic reacts as he is substituted off while West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

“Marko Arnautovic has a contract and we fully expect him to honour it. He is not for sale,” the Premier League club said.

The 29-year-old former Stoke City player has become a favourite at West Ham since joining in 2017, scoring eight goals in 17 matches this season. He is contracted until 2022.

In a statement to radio station talkSPORT Arnautovic’s brother Danijel, who also represents him, said West Ham had been offered nearly double what they paid for him.

“West Ham bought Marko for peanuts. They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market,” he said.

“They bought him to keep them in the Premier League last season and he did that. He took every award at the club; best player, signing of the season and the players’ award.

“Now West Ham have a fantastic offer... He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles... It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.”

Speaking ahead of West Ham’s Premier League clash with Arsenal on Saturday, manager Manuel Pellegrini dismissed talk of Arnautovic leaving in the January transfer window.

“I will not talk about the price, I will not talk about rumours,” the manager told a news conference.

“Marko and the other players involved in the rumours have their heads here, they want to continue the way they’re playing.

“I’m sure ...he’ll have his head in the game against Arsenal. I want to keep him but you never know what will happen in the future.”

The weekend clash at the London Stadium will also be an opportunity for midfielder Samir Nasri to come up against his former club Arsenal in a return to the Premier League after two-and-a-half years.

The Frenchman joined the Hammers on a free transfer after completing an 18-month doping ban and made his debut in a 2-0 FA Cup win over Birmingham City.

“It was useful for him to play 60 minutes against Birmingham for the cup, he’s been working really hard, so he demonstrated he is able to play,” Pellegrini added.

“He’ll be involved in the game against Arsenal, at least on the squad list. After that we’ll see if he starts.”

($1 = 0.7833 pounds)

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond and John Stonestreet

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