Marko Arnautovic has signed a new long-term contract at West Ham - bringing to an end a whirlwind couple of weeks that had seem destined to end with his departure from the club to China.
The 29-year-old had been strongly tipped to leave the London Stadium in January, after his brother, who is also his agent, publicly announced Arnautovic's desire to leave the club and seek a new challenge in cash-rich China.
Indeed, the Austrian forward appeared to wave goodbye to the Hammers after being substituted in the 1-0 win over Arsenal a couple of weeks ago - but in a remarkable turnaround, has now signed a new contract with the club - exclaiming his joy at doing so in a statement released on the club's official website.
“I’m happy for this and I want to say to the fans that I’m happy to stay, I glad to play again, show myself and score goals, to make assists, but also to say that the major point is Marko Arnautovic never refused [to play or train]. I would never refuse.
“I’m happy, I’m happy to come to this point. I’m happy that this club is improving. Step by step, every week, every month we are seeing some improvement and that’s good.”
Arnautovic went on to insist this his focus is helping the club finish as high up the Premier League table as they can, with the club having recently broken into the top ten.
He added: “Our target, of course, is to climb as high as possible in the league table. We need to start again taking some points. We know it won’t be easy against Wolverhampton away and Liverpool at home. It’s never easy in this league but I’m sure we have enough quality to win games and to climb as high as possible in the table and then we’ll see.
“The fans gave me the power, they gave me the energy and that’s why I have to be here and that’s why I want to stay. I never wanted to run away because I hate this club, this was never my intention.
“I love this club and I will always love this club no matter what. You have decisions you have to make in life, but I say from now it doesn’t matter what happens I will always love West Ham and it will always be a big part in my life. I love this happiness, so listen, I’m here, I’m ready. I hope the fans are also ready and we go again.”
West Ham will hope to get Arnautovic fit and ready for league action as the club look to bounce back from an embarrassing 4-2 FA Cup defeat to AFC Wimbledon.