West Ham says Arnautovic not for sale after China links

West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic scores his side's first goal against Brighton & Hove Albion during a Premier League soccer match at the London Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in London. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)/PA via AP)

LONDON — Marko Arnautovic's future at West Ham is mired in uncertainty after the Premier League club's star player expressed his desire to take up a lucrative offer from China.

A statement released by Arnautovic's brother Danijel, who also acts as his representative, to British broadcaster talkSport says the Austria forward "wants to go to a new market and challenge for titles" and that "it is his great desire that West Ham accept the offer from China."

It wasn't disclosed which Chinese club has made the offer for Arnautovic.

West Ham responded Thursday by saying Arnautovic "has a contract and we fully expect him to honor it. He is not for sale."

The 29-year-old Arnautovic is one of the most talented players in the Premier League and has found a new level of consistency since joining West Ham from Stoke for a club-record fee of 20 million pounds (then $26 million) in the offseason of 2017.

He switched from being a wide midfielder to play up front under former West Ham manager David Moyes last season, and has stayed in that position under current coach Manuel Pellegrini.

Pellegrini says "I want to keep him, of course, but you never know what might happen in the future."

West Ham plays Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday and Pellegrini suggested Arnautovic will be available for the game.

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More AP English soccer: https://apnews.com/PremierLeague and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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