Former West Ham assistant manager Stuart Pearce has conceded that West Ham will struggle to keep hold of Marko Arnautović should a bigger club come calling.
The Austrian international has been a hit with the fans since his arrival from Stoke City in the summer of 2017 having helped keep West Ham in the Premier League with his 11 goals in his debut season, before making a productive start to their current campaign.
Despite having suffered a few minor injuries through West Ham's first 12 games Arnautović has still managed to bag himself five goals and an assist in 10 starts, helping Manuel Pellegrini's side recover from what was a dire start to the season after losing their opening four games.
The Hammers now sit in 13th place in the Premier League table and have a four-point cushion over the relegation zone, however fans may still have reason to be fearful. Reports from a number of sources are claiming Arnautović is now ready to move to a bigger club in search of Champions League football, and therefore may be on his way out in January.
It's certainly the news West Ham fans were dreading, although many believe the forward could still be persuaded to stay - including former West Ham player and assistant manager Pearce.
Speaking in an interview on talkSPORT, Pearce admitted that whilst Arnautović has a lot to thank the club for, he feels if a big club comes knocking it would be hard for the Hammers to keep hold of their star man. He said: “You’ve probably got to outline to Marko [how important he is].
“In my opinion Marko wasn’t the player [he is now, compared to the start of my time at West Ham]. He owes a lot to David Moyes for playing him up front as a centre forward and also probably owes a lot to West Ham. The fans love him there, he’s almost like a [Paolo] Di Canio type you know maverick type player and you’ve got to make sure he’s valued I think.
“That’s really important that he knows how valued he is. [But] I think in modern day football if players want moves or not if someone comes down and puts enough money on the table at West Ham, money talks doesn’t it. He’s gone.”
It looks as though West Ham will face a very tough task too keep hold of their star man past the January transfer window with a number of clubs reportedly keen to snag his services.