West Ham United are being strongly linked with Marko Arnautovic as he emerges as the latest summer target.
Marko Arnautovic has reportedly handed in a transfer request at Stoke City, alerting West Ham to his potential availability.
The Hammers have followed up with a £15m bid, according to The Telegraph, and are expected to return with a £20m offer after seeing their first approach knocked back.
Marko Arnautovic is trying to force a move away from Stoke and is interested by West Ham’s approach.
With this transfer now hotting up, we take a look at what Marko Arnautovic could offer West Ham if he did join the club.
Goals from midfield
West Ham are without an out and out goal scoring striker.
Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are too injury prone and we have failed to land a top striker over the past few windows.
As a result, we are heavily reliant on goals from midfield.
Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini and Andre Ayew all chipped in with valuable contributions last season while the rest of the midfield gets a handful of goals between them.
Without goal scoring midfielders, West Ham would struggle so adding Marko Arnautovic might be helpful.
The Austrian international offers goals from midfield, having scored 26 times in four seasons for the Potters.
A downside to Marko Arnautovic’s game is his reputation as a hot head.
While he demonstrates passion, the 28-year-old occasionally lets it get the better of him and he earns unnecessary cautions and red cards every now and then.
Furthermore, it says a lot about a player when they hand in a transfer request with three years left on their current deal.
This is a risk that West Ham have to take into account when deciding whether to pursue this deal.
Arnautovic would bring vast experience to The London Stadium.
The 28-year-old has played in the Eredivisie with FC Twente, the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and he had a brief spell in Serie A with Inter Milan.
The attacker has four years of Premier League experience under his belt and has already proven that he can perform at this level.
With 62 international caps to his name as well, Arnautovic brings experience in abundance to the table.
Primarily an attacking midfielder, Arnautovic can fill a number of roles.
The Austrian forward can slot behind the main striker, play as a winger or even play as a centre-forward.
Having players like this is always useful and Slaven Bilic would undoubtedly be grateful for Arnautovic’s versatility if he did join.
Stoke City could sell for about £20m, which is still a steep price.
They may even ask for more than that!
Age is not on his side anymore so it is hardly an investment with a view to getting a high sell-on fee so West Ham must decide whether Arnautovic will justify £20m worth of the budget with his contributions in claret and blue over the next few seasons.
There is no doubting the Stoke City star’s skill, though.
The powerful forward has great ability with the ball at his feet, whether that be dribbling, passing, crossing or shooting.
He is quick and strong, making him a handful for any defender.
Marko Arnautovic would undoubtedly improve West Ham’s options in the attacking midfield departments.
However, the £20m reported price tag is quite expensive for an ageing player.
But he is in the prime of his career and with Premier League experience behind him, this could prove to be a shrewd move.
If this deal is offset by a couple of departures in the attacking midfield ranks, such as Sofiane Feghouli or Robert Snodgrass, then Marko Arnautovic could end up being a top piece of business for the Hammers.