Chinese club pull plug on huge £45m deal for West Ham star

Joe Williams
Marko Arnautovic West Ham

Marko Arnautovic’s move to Guangzhou Evergrande is off after the Chinese Super League side pulled the plug on a £45million deal to sign the striker, according to reports.

The West Ham star waved to home fans when he was substituted during last weekend’s win over Arsenal, while he was absent for the Hammers’ 2-0 loss to Bournemouth yesterday.

All signs pointed to his exit with manager Manuel Pellegrini saying on Thursday that the 29-year-old would be allowed to depart, subject to a “good deal for both parties” being agreed.

Austria international Arnautovic, the club’s joint leading scorer with eight goals, is keen on a big-money move to China, with Guangzhou having already had a £35.2million offer rejected.

With Guangzhou willing to increase their offer to £45million, West Ham had even started to look for replacements with Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez emerging as a target.

However, the Mail on Sunday claims that the Chinese outfit have withdrew their offer on Saturday after they had a re-think about signing Arnautovic.

The worry now will be how Arnautovic will reintegrate back into the squad after missing out on reported wages of £280,000-a-week.

Explaining his team selection against Bournemouth, Pellegrini said: “The reason is because as a manager you must choose the players that work better during the week.

“Marko has his head on another issue so I thought it was not a good idea for him to play today.

“I don’t think we need to continue talking about players that are not in the squad in this moment.

“I never complain about players who are not here.

“We couldn’t win and, if Marko Arnautovic didn’t play, we have another player that must do it.”