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14th Nov 2018

Marko Arnautović says he’s ready to leave West Ham in search of a new challenge

The Austrian forward is thriving in a new, central role at West Ham United and has hinted that he could leave in January in search of a new challenge

Reuben Pinder

He fancies a new challenge

Marko Arnautović has revealed that he is ready to leave West Ham in search of a new challenge. At the age of 29, the forward feels the time is right for him to have one last pop at succeeding at a big club.

The Austrian had struggled for form at West Ham under Slaven Bilic, but rediscovered his mojo under David Moyes last season. Now playing in a central role under Manuel Pellegrini, he is thriving, free from the shackles of having to track back to defend.

He now feels it’s time to cash in on this form, and make the step back up to a bigger club before the opportunity slips away.

“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.”

Arnautović came through at Dutch club FC Twente before joining Inter Milan on loan ahead of their treble winning season. However, then Inter boss José Mourinho decided against keeping him on permanently due to his attitude. Mourinho described Arnautović as “a fantastic person but has the attitude of a child”.

But since then, the forward has slowly matured, both on and off the pitch and has become one of the most formidable forwards outside the Premier League’s top 6.

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.”