The fallout from Marko Arnautovic’s transfer to West Ham United has continued this week after the player’s agent unleashed a scathing attack on Stoke City, claiming that the club “showed no ambition” and that chairman Peter Coates should “clean up his own garbage”.
The Austrian winger forced through a transfer earlier in the summer, just twelve months after signing a new long-term contract that made him The Potters highest paid player.
In early July the 28-year-old handed in a formal transfer request and made it clear in discussions with club officials that he was determined to move, with West Ham emerging as the only contenders for his signature, with a club record deal being agreed last week.
The move has sparked a backlash from the hierarchy at Stoke with chairman Peter Coates revealing in an interview with talkSPORT, as reported by the Mirror, that he was “disappointed” by the player’s behaviour and that he expected “more loyalty” after the club “resurrected his career”.
However, those comments have incited a furious response from Arnautovic’s agent and brother, Daniel Arnautovic, who told The Sun:
“Why Marko left Stoke I won’t tell you. I can only say Mr. Coates should clean up his own garbage within the club walls before pointing fingers at anyone outside it. I was expecting a little more respect from certain people within the club instead of reading attacking articles.”
Daniel Arnautovic claimed that his brother had given “his whole heart out to Stoke City” and that the club should be happy to have made a ten-fold profit on a player they bought for just £2,500,000 four years ago:
“I’m very happy that my brother made a huge profit for Stoke and that’s our way of paying back all the love the fans have shown. He left with a record transfer profit. They bought him for £2.5m and sold him for ten times more. I pointed out very clearly that it looked to us the club showed no ambition.”
Meanwhile Stoke City Chief Executive Tony Scholes has told the Stoke Sentinel that the club will reinvest every penny that they have made from transfer sales this summer to ensure that they purchase a replacement for Arnautovic.
The Austrian was one of The Potters’ most dangerous attacking threats last season and was directly involved in 25% of the club’s goals in the Premier League, with Scholes admitted that his departure will leave “a gap”.
However, the Chief Executive insisted that the club intend to invest significantly in the playing squad and that there will be a competitive team in place by the start of the season:
“Marko [Arnautovic] is going to be a difficult player to replace in many ways. We’ve got Ramadan Sobhi coming through which is a plus. We bought Ramadan in last summer and he’s done well and Mark is pleased with his development.”
“Every penny we raise is reinvested in the team. … It’s about where it’s invested and how it’s invested. We’ve got options. … Do we need a carbon copy of Marko or something slightly different? We are we weighing up all those options and pursuing them”
One of those options appears to be Benfica winger Andre Carrillo, with Stoke being one of four Premier League clubs linked with the Peruvian.
The 26-year-old rose to prominence in South America before being purchased by Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in 2011. He made over 150 appearances for the club before making a controversial switch to cross-city rivals Benfica twelve months ago for free after allowing his contract to run down but struggled to make an impact in his debut season having started just ten games.
The Stoke Sentinel suggest that Carrillo could cost as little as £6 million, but Stoke will face competition from Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town.