Marko Arnautovic

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West Ham sells Arnautovic to Chinese champion Shanghai SIPG

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LONDON (AP) West Ham announced the sale of Marko Arnautovic to Chinese champion Shanghai SIPG in a terse, two-line statement on Monday.

The value of the deal was not disclosed in a statement from West Ham which offered no thanks for the Austria forward’s 22 goals in two seasons.

The club’s Twitter account message was even shorter: “Marko Arnautovic departs.”

[ REPORT: Mings to Aston Villa ]

British media reported the transfer fee was around 22 million pounds ($27.6 million).

Relations between West Ham and Arnautovic have been tense since he sought a move to China in January, and got worse this offseason.

Arnautovic leaves despite signing a contract extension in late January.

The 30-year-old forward was a club record 20 million pounds ($25 million) signing from Stoke in 2017.

At Shanghai, Arnautovic will join up in attack with former Brazil internationals Hulk and Oscar.

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Arnautovic being forced out of West Ham United

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Bold prediction: Soon enough, we’ll be hearing that Marko Arnautovic either wants out of China, or China wants Marko Arnautovic off its land.

The combustible but powerful striker is set to depart West Ham United for Shanghai SIPG to the tune of $28.2 million, according to reports, with the majority of the club reportedly sick of his “will he or won’t he?” antics.

[ MORE: Jagielka staying in PL ]

Arnautovic engineered a move from Stoke City to West Ham, then talked his way into an improved contract with the Irons before using his brother as a mouthpiece in a bid to move abroad.

Shanghai offered more than $40 million in January, but West Ham instead gave Arnautovic an improved deal. Now having reaped those rewards for a half-year, Arnautovic will leave London having cost his team those wages and nearly $12 million in fees.

Pablo Zabaleta spoke out against the saga in January, and clearly he’d know how long-time pal and current West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini felt about it.

The 30-year-old has hit double-digit goals in three of his last four Premier League seasons, including 10 in just 28 appearances in 2018-19.

He has four goals in four Austria caps in 2019, and 24 in 81 overall.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

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It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia

Zabaleta: Arnautovic transfer saga created ‘bad atmosphere’ at West Ham

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It’s been a thoroughly weird season at West Ham United, but the good news — for Hammers fans and haters alike — is it’s not yet two-thirds complete, so there’s still plenty of time remaining for lots more weirdness.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundupMonday | Sunday ]

You’ll probably remember the abysmal start to the season and Manuel Pellegrini‘s tenure at the London Stadium — four straight losses in August and September — which resulted in just two wins from their first 10 games. Then came a run of just two defeats from the ensuing 10 games. Then, everything fell apart again right around the time the calendar turned over to 2019.

To put it another way, everything seemed to fell apart again right around the time star forward Marko Arnautovic was linked with a move to an unnamed Chinese Super League side. Arnautovic was, to be fair, completely outspoken and forthright in his desire to cash in on his talents and name recognition as he approaches his 30th birthday, but the club took a hardline stance and refused to sell him in January.

[ MORE: What did we learn on a wild Premier League Tuesday? (video) ]

Unsurprisingly, the saga, which lasted nearly three weeks, took its toll on the rest of the squad and has played a part in the latest skid: just one win from their last five games, including three losses. Pablo Zabaleta, who’s been the unquestioned leader and wise head needed during tough times, makes no bones about that fact — quotes from the Guardian:

“Honestly, I think so many situations off the field have been creating a little bit of a bad atmosphere. I’m not just saying that is the only thing, but I remember in December, when we had a good run of games, it was like you could see West Ham playing as a team. Everyone working so hard for each other. But in January, it’s been tough on and off the field.”

“February is around the corner, I can’t wait for Feb. 1, and everyone is back on it again. We need commitment from everyone if we want to have a good season and make West Ham a better club and a better team. I understand January is a difficult month for clubs, because you can have big interest in your best players. But Arnie was out of the squad for two games, and he’s been the main player for us.”

Fortunately for all parties involved, Arnautovic was convinced — by a shiny, new contract — to remain at the club through the end of the season. Then, in typical 2018-19 West Ham fashion, he suffered a foot injury in his first game back and could miss significant time.

Arnautovic announces stay at West Ham amid Chinese offer

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West Ham attacker Marko Arnautovic has confirmed on social media that he will return to play for West Ham amid a big-money offer from a pair of Chinese clubs that has seen the 29-year-old sit out the last Premier League match.

According to reports across England, Chinese clubs Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande have shown interest in the Austrian, and West Ham rejected a bid of $46 million earlier this winter. Arnautovic was reported to be interested in the offer and sat out last Saturday’s match with Bournemouth as he worked out his future.

Sky Sports reports that West Ham informed a bid of $66 million would be enough to see him move away from Olympic Stadium, but that did not materialize.

“Dear West Ham fans,” Arnautovic wrote on a post on his Instagram story, a sector of Instagram that gives posts a shelf life of 24 hours. “I guess it’s no secret that there has been an offer for me and I have to admit that the offer was a very tempting one for me and my family.”

“I’ve given 100% to my club duties but I have also needed some time to talk to my club, my wife, and the rest of my family. I have no decided to put all the writings and speculation. I’m a professional footballer and the only thing I know in life is to play in football. It’s clear that London and West Ham United feels like home for me and I hope that the West Ham fans have always seen that. The club has pointed my career in the right direction since I joined and therefore I want to put the offers aside, help the club climb as high as possible in the table and try to win the [FA] Cup. Let’s focus on the rest of the season together and let them bubbles fly. COYI.”

Arnautovic joined West Ham from Stoke City in the summer of 2017 and has made 53 appearances for the Hammers since, scoring 19 goals and assisting 10 others. Seven of those goals scored have come this season in league play, including a brace back on January 2nd against Brighton.