Marko Arnautovic has reaffirmed his commitment to West Ham by signing a contract extension at the club – seemingly ending speculation of a lucrative switch to China this month.
The Austrian forward wrote in an Instagram post on Friday that he would remain with the Hammers until at least the end of the season and he has now gone a step further by extending his deal with the club.
West Ham have not specified the length of Arnautovic’s new deal – he was previously contracted to the club until 2022 – but the 29-year-old has welcomed the news and rejected rumours he was seeking to force his way out.
He said on the club’s official website: “I’m happy for this and I want to say to the fans that I’m happy to stay.
“I’m glad to play again, show myself and score goals, to make assists, but also to say that the major point is Marko Arnautovic never refused (to play or train). I would never refuse.
“I’m happy, I’m happy to come to this point. I’m happy that this club is improving. Step by step, every week, every month we are seeing some improvement and that’s good.”
Arnautovic was the subject of a reported £35million bid from a Chinese club, thought to be Shanghai SIPG, and he admitted he had been tempted by the move.
Manuel Pellegrini had made it clear the club did not want to sell West Ham’s joint-top scorer this season, but he left Arnautovic out of the Premier League squad against Bournemouth last weekend, where the Hammers lost 2-0.
Arnautovic was back in training this week and, having been a conspicuous absentee from the squad in the shock FA Cup defeat at AFC Wimbledon, he wants to help West Ham climb the Premier League table.
He added: “Our target, of course, is to climb as high as possible in the league table. We need to start again taking some points.
“We know it won’t be easy against Wolverhampton away and Liverpool at home. It’s never easy in this league but I’m sure we have enough quality to win games and to climb as high as possible in the table and then we’ll see.
“The fans gave me the power, they gave me the energy and that’s why I have to be here and that’s why I want to stay. I never wanted to run away because I hate this club, this was never my intention.
“I love this club and I will always love this club no matter what. You have decisions you have to make in life, but I say from now it doesn’t matter what happens I will always love West Ham and it will always be a big part in my life.
“I love this happiness, so listen, I’m here, I’m ready. I hope the fans are also ready and we go again.”
– Press Association