Marko Arnautovic is off to London, with West Ham United hoping he can end their long search for a star striker.
Stoke City’s Austrian attacker only signed a new deal last season following interest from Everton, but West Ham would not relent in its desire to sign him.
Bid No. 3 is reportedly for $32 million, which would normally seem a pretty penny for a 28-year-old with one double-digit goal season since leaving the Eredivisie in 2009.
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Arnautovic did nab 11 Premier League goals in 2015-16, posting six last season, and is capable of raw power that few others possess. At 6-foot-3, he’s a beast when he’s on his game.
West Ham has added Joe Hart at backstop and Pablo Zabaleta at fullback, but still seeks a true no-doubt finisher. Javier Hernandez is the latest to join a list of targets which has included Michy Batshuayi, Carlos Tevez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and others dating back to 2015.
Arnautovic falls short of that class, in theory, as did Andre Ayew and even productive but injury-riddled Andy Carroll. West Ham’s chase for a striker has similar vibes to Romelu Lukaku‘s departure from Everton; Attracting and keeping that next stratosphere of striker and subsequently reaching the next level of Premier League competition, is very difficult when your club is outside the UEFA Champions League. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Everton was in for Arnautovic last summer, bargain hunting in a sense.
Can West Ham be a team that sneaks into seventh because of only one major competition?