Arnautovic urged to ignore Chelsea rumours and become West Ham's next Di Canio

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Marko Arnautovic West Ham 2018-19

Marko Arnautovic has been urged to ignore talk of interest from the likes of Chelsea, with Alvin Martin looking for him to become a West Ham legend in the Paolo Di Canio mould.

Enigmatic talents are always embraced by the Hammers faithful, with entertainers well received in the East End.

Austria international Arnautovic is their favoured showman at present, but speculation is casting doubt over his ongoing presence at the London Stadium.

Speculation continues to build during the January window, with the 29-year-old said to be a target for Premier League rivals and big-spending Chinese Super League sides.

West Ham icon Martin told talkSPORT when quizzed on Arnautovic’s future: “I hope he’ll see the light.

“Looking back on my career, one of the biggest things I’ve taken into my 50s and 60s is that I played for the right club.

“I was connected with that club and I’m still connected with that club and its fan base. There’s a value in that.”

Another famous figure from the past who had that ‘connection’ with the Hammers was Di Canio.

Di Canio West Ham

The mercurial Italian spent four years at Upton Park between 1999 and 2003, taking in 141 appearances and netting 52 goals.

He is still idolised in that part of the world, and Arnautovic has been told he could cement a similar standing if he stays put and remains a talismanic presence.

Martin, who spent 20 years with West Ham in his career, added: “When a player gets that, it’s a very special thing. The fans adore him, the manager wants to build a team around him.

“One player who sums up the situation is Paolo Di Canio.

“I think they’re very similar. He’s a leader, he’s got charisma, he’s a personality that the fans adore.

“Di Canio walks back into West Ham and he is given such a welcome. That’s a big thing for a player and it’s something you should think about.

“He [Arnautovic] is someone who loves being loved. He loves being the main man and that’s what he is at West Ham.”

Arnautovic has contributed seven goals and two assists to the Hammers cause this season, having found the target 11 times and laid on six more during his debut campaign in 2017-18.