West Ham have claimed they will not sell striker Marko Arnautovic and expect him to honour his contract despite the player wanting to leave to play in the Chinese Super League.
Reports have claimed that a £35 million ($44.8m) offer has been made for the Austria international from an unnamed Chinese club after a fine first half to the season.
Arnautovic’s agent and brother, Danijel, has called for the Irons to accept the bid and allow his client to depart the London Stadium during the January transfer window.
“West Ham bought Marko for peanuts,” Arnautovic’s brother told talkSPORT .
“They paid £20m for him, which is nothing in the current market. 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. It is close to double what they paid for him.
“He wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles. This is what he wants. It is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China.
“Marko is professional and is preparing himself for the Arsenal game. He will give 100 per cent for West Ham. That is Marko. He will never change.
"Until he is no longer a West Ham player, he will give everything to the club. He hopes the fans can respect his wishes."
West Ham wasted little time in responding to the statement and took to Twitter saying : “Marko Arnautovic has a contract and we full expect him to honour it. He is not for sale.”
Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini echoed the club’s sentiments earlier in the day and when asked whether Arnautovic could leave he claimed: “Those are all rumours. We know in Marko that we have a very good player and maybe a lot of clubs may want him to play for their team.”
“He is a player of West Ham and for the moment we don't have any news about him.”
It remains to be seen how Arnautovic will fare for the Hammers given his transfer saga and whether he will feature against Arsenal on Saturday.
The 29-year-old has been in superb form this season and has netted seven goals in 15 league games for the east London outfit.
His impressive showings have also led to speculation that the former Stoke City man was a target for Chelsea, thoug it now appears that should Arnautovic leave West Ham it would be to China.
A number of high-profiled players have moved to China in recent years, including Oscar, Hulk, Paulinho, Yannick Carrasco and Axel Witsel.