Marko Arnautovic is close to leaving West Ham to move to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG, according to the BBC.
They report that the 30-year-old will soon make a £22.4 million switch, but the interest from Asia first came around in January.
The Hammers were keen not to sell Arnautovic in January, according to the Guardian, who reported at the time that they were tested by two bids from Shanghai – the second of which was £35.2 million.
So they face losing out on around £13 million on the fee, as well as potentially missing out on Maxi Gomez, who the Guardian reported in January was a target to replace Arnautovic.
Had the Hammers let Arnautovic go for just over £35 million in January, matching Gomez’s reported (Guardian) £43.5 million release clause would not have presented much of a net spend.
West Ham would have been swapping an ageing, temperamental, wantaway striker who had ruptured his relationship with the fans for a younger, dynamic hitman.
Instead, Arnautovic was offered a new contract in a hasty attempt to put the issues to bed, but they have swiftly reappeared.
In the meantime, Faro de Vigo report that Valencia have swooped in for Gomez, leaving West Ham on the back foot and potentially facing life without Arnautovic or the Spanish hitman.
That scenario could have been avoided if West Ham had ditched Arnautovic as soon as he agitated for a move.