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‘Arnautovic must be more Mahrez than Payet’ – Transfer rebel warned by former West Ham striker

18:04 EAT 25/01/2019
Marko Arnautovic West Ham 2018-19
The Austria international had been hoping to secure a move during the winter window, but has been told to knuckle down and not rock the boat

Marko Arnautovic needs to follow the lead of Riyad Mahrez, not Dimitri Payet, as he seeks to secure a move away from West Ham, says David Connolly.

Having seen interest shown in his services from China, the Austria international had been hoping to be on the move during the winter window.

The Hammers are, however, standing firm and have refused to sanction a lucrative switch at this stage.

Arnautovic is said to be less than impressed at that stance and is threatening to emulate France international Payet, who forced through a transfer away from the London Stadium in 2017 by refusing to play.

Connolly believes that would be the wrong approach for a talented 29-year-old to take, with former Leicester winger Mahrez having shown that wishes can be granted if patience is shown after finally getting himself the chance to head to Manchester City on the back of several transfer requests.

“I don't think Arnautovic and Payet are exactly the same,” Connolly told Love Sport Radio.

“I don't think Payet went about it the right way but he was going for sporting reasons. He wanted to go back to France and with Marseille he reached the Europa League final. Arguably, it wasn't for the money.

“With Arnautovic, he's obviously not going for sporting reasons.

“Refusing to play is a real negative and [what about] Riyad Mahrez who was in a similar situation? He buckled down, got on and played.

“He sulked for a couple of days but then he was back in among the team. They welcomed him with open arms and he got his move to Man City in the end. That would be the right way to go about it and he might do that.”

West Ham are reluctant to part with Arnautovic as he has been a key man since joining from Stoke in a club-record £20 million deal during the summer of 2017.

Connolly admits he would be a big miss if allowed to leave, with the Hammers needing all the assistance they can get in a bid to secure a top-seven finish.

The former Republic of Ireland international added: “If Arnautovic does go they look really, really light.

“Andy Carroll hasn't even played 100 games in his five years so you can't rely on him.

“They were struggling against Burnley until they brought on Mark Noble and [Michail] Antonio who made a difference - then Arnautovic got a couple. I'd be worried if they lost Arnautovic.

“They've got technical players - Samir Nasri is a terrific signing for them - and for the first time in a good few years, they've given the youngsters a right good chance and they look good enough.

“Whether it's Xande Silva, Declan Rice or Grady Diangana, they look like they can actually make the grade like Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand did. I'm not saying they will be that good in the end but they look like they've got a right good chance. West Ham always need youngsters, that mix.

“[Manuel] Pellegrini is nearly there. They're missing [Manuel] Lanzini but the technical way for them suits. But Andy Carroll doesn't suit that way so, if Arnautovic goes, they'll need a front man desperately.”