West Ham would compromise their stance on Marko Arnautovic not being for sale this month if they could sign a striker of similar ability, according to the Telegraph.
They report that while the Hammers have publicly insisted that the Austrian is not for sale, that resistance would have been relaxed if a frontman of the same repute – and crucially, a similar price – came the other way.
The club reportedly wanted £50m for Arnautovic – to allow them to bring in a replacement in the inflated January market – but if they could have engineered a cheaper deal for a replacement, their asking price for the former Stoke man would have decreased accordingly.
But with fears that Arnautovic remains unsettled, it may be worth West Ham continuing to examine their options, such as Atalanta hitman Duvan Zapata.
West Ham reportedly saw a bid rejected for the striker – who has 17 goals to his name across all competitions this season, matching Cristiano Ronaldo strike-for-strike in Serie A as well.
But if the Hammers are simply trying to marry up their asking price for Arnautovic with what they want to pay for a replacement, then they may well be able to revive negotiations with both China and Atalanta.
That would force a rethink of the plan to keep Arnautovic until the end of the season, but avoid the prospect of having an unsettled player on Manuel Pellegrini’s books.