Monday 23 September 2019

Marko Arnautovic says he's ready to leave West Ham to challenge himself against ‘the best players’

West Ham's Marko Arnautovic. Photo: Reuters
West Ham's Marko Arnautovic. Photo: Reuters Newsdesk Newsdesk

Marko Arnautovic says he is ready to leave West Ham to challenge himself against “the best players”, adding that 29 is “the best age” for him to move to a bigger club.

The Austria international was West Ham’s outstanding attacking player in the Premier League last season after being moved into a centre-forward role by manager David Moyes, registering 11 goals and six assists to help keep them in the top flight.

He leads the team in scoring again this season under new boss Manuel Pellegrini with five goals in 10 appearances, and believes the time is right to challenge himself at a higher level.

“I’m 29, so that’s the best age,” Arnautovic told the Austrian newspaper Kurier. “It’s clear that I want to compete with the best players. But in this affair I totally trust my brother.”

Arnautovic’s brother, Danijel, is also his agent and negotiated the £25 million deal that took the forward from Stoke City to West Ham in the summer of 2017.

“He’s already playing in the Premier League and that’s where the best players are. But for a player like Marko this cannot be the end,” said Danijel Arnautovic.

“He’s a big part of West Ham’s team but I think it’s possible to tease out more of him. For that to happen, he has to play for a top team. Marko is ready for the next step. A player like him should not play against relegation. He should play for the international spots.

“Marko is really enjoying playing for West Ham. He loves that club and the fans. But there is still that feeling, that this cannot be the end. And everybody should understand that.”

Arnautovic started his career at Dutch club FC Twente and joined Inter Milan on loan as a highly-regarded teenager in 2009, only for then coach Jose Mourinho to decide against making the deal permanent, stating that the Austrian “is a fantastic person but has the attitude of a child”.

An impressive three-year spell at Werder Bremen then earned Arnautovic a move to Stoke in the summer of 2013, and he became a key player over four seasons at the bet365 Stadium before leaving in acrimonious circumstances to join West Ham.

Asked if Arnautovic could leave West Ham in January, his brother Danijel replied: “That’s possible. It was already very, very close this last summer.”

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